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Teacher Training Series 



Professor of Educaiion, Carnegie Institute of Technology 






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Bt silver, BUEDETT & COMPANY. 


In 1913, at the suggestion of Hon. M. P. Shawkey, 
State Superintendent of Schools of West Virginia, I pre- 
pared A Handbook for Community Meetings at Rural 
Schoolhouses, for the use of West Virginia teachers in 
a campaign for reviving community social life, particu- 
larly in rural and village communities. Soon after this 
handbook was issued. Dr. P. P. Claxton requested, and 
was furnished, thirty-five hundred copies for distribution 
among the county superintendents of the United States. 
The continued demand for this handbook has been such 
that finally the editor of this series requested me to pre- 
pare the manuscript of a book on the community center, 
for teachers and educators interested in this movement, 
which should cover the entire field in a more compre- 
hensive way. 

Briefly stated, the book undertakes to present some of 
the more important rural life problems, particularly 
as regards rural social life and recreation, and to offer 
suggestions as to how the teacher, by means of the school 
as a community center, may contribute very largely 
to the solution of these problems. In order that the 
reader may not conclude too readily that some of the 
suggestions are fanciful, I have taken the liberty to quote 
a few of the many statements which teachers have made 
to me by letter as to how they have put these suggestions 



iv Author's Preface 

into practice, and what they have accomplished thereby 
in the estabhshment and maintenance of community 
centers. Chapters XI and XII contain suggestive pro- 
grams, most of which have been successfully used by 

In the preparation of this book I am indebted to so 
large a number of authors and educators that I am un- 
able to give proper acknowledgments. I am especially 
indebted to the editor and to Hon. M. P. Shawkey, whose 
inspiration led me to undertake the writing of this volume. 


This book has been prepared in the hope that it will be 
serviceable to superintendents, supervisors, and teachers 
in carrying forward the community center work which 
is now well under way among rural and village com- 
munities in nearly all the states. The aim has been to 
emphasize strongly two things which the author believes 
to be fundamental in any plan that may be followed in 
the improvement of rural life conditions: (1) The re- 
direction of rural life forces must be effected by the rural 
people themselves; (2) for the present, and probably 
for a good many years to come, the active work of such 
redirection must be carried on mainly by means of com- 
munity activities centering .around the school and under 
the active leadership of school superintendents, super- 
visors, and teachers, with the cooperation of all other 
available agencies of leadership. 

In some states one of the major functions of the county 
teachers' institute is to map out the general plans for the 
work of the schools in the ensuing school year. Such 
plans should be laid by the county superintendent and 

Author^ s Preface V 

the supervisors and teachers working together. The 
important consideration is that all shall understand what 
the plans are and how best to carry them out in the 
schools. Under such conditions this book will be sug- 
gestive in formulating plans for carrying on the commu- 
nity center activities. As the work proceeds, divisional 
supervisors and principals will be able, in teachers' meet- 
ings and conferences with teachers, to work out the details 
of such plans and to adapt them to the local conditions. 

Chapters I to V deal with some of the more fundamental 
principles underlying the community center movement 
as related to rural life conditions. Chapters VI to X are 
intended to indicate the nature and the scope of com- 
munity center activities and, partly by discussion and 
partly by illustration, to offer some suggestions for carry- 
ing on the community center work. Chapters XI and 
XII contain a number of programs which may be found 
suggestive to teachers or other community leaders in 
making definite plans for the meetings. Chapter XI 
deals with entertainment programs, while Chapter XII 
suggests programs bearing upon country life. But since 
these two kinds of program may be used interchangeably, 
the reader would do well in actual practice to regard 
these two chapters as one. 

In reading a book of this kind, one is apt to read the 
chapter first and then give more or less casual attention 
to the exercises at the end of the chapter. This method 
of reading might be improved by first examining the 
" exercises " as a guide to the reading. It is believed 
that the use of the book for reading circle purposes may 
be made most helpful by the latter method. 

I L. J. Hanifan. 


The truism that man is a social animal, which has been 
accepted with growing importance by sociologists for 
several generations, is now becoming an integral portion 
of the principles of education, and during the past few 
years much attention has been given to exploiting and 
developing this idea. But, as in all activities of the in- 
stincts, favorable conditions are demanded for the de- 
velopment of sociality and unfavorable conditions cause 
it to fall into atrophy and disuse. 

In no situation is this more noticeably manifested than 
in the rhythmic rise and fall of sociality in rural com- 
munities. Our parents relate with pride and affection 
their early reminiscences of the singing schools, the spelling 
bees, and the revival meetings of their youth. In those 
earlier days when transportation was slow, when books 
were few and newspapers scarce, the instinctive demands 
for amusement and intercourse could be met solely or 
chiefly by the social gathering, which seemed to be best 
nurtured and maintained when centered around some 
such intellectual or emotional interest. 

But with the passing of time, in the country districts 
other means of satisfying these social demands have 
developed. Rural delivery brings the news of the out- 
side world in newspapers, magazines, and letters; the 
automobile makes the nearest village as close as was the 
neighbor's house formerly; and from the village, trains 
can carry the rural resident to his metropolis in a few 


Editor's Preface vii 

hours. The substantial citizens around whom and whose 
famines the social life of the community naturally circu- 
lates are moving to the cities to give their children the 
opportunities for education which were not known or 
realized a generation ago. The school teacher, once an 
important citizen of the community, is now a young 
man or woman serving his immature apprenticeship 
before entering upon a teaching or business career in the 

Under these conditions it is only natural that the rural 
family should get its news of world events from the 
newspaper and its amusement in the city, that the social 
gatherings of the past should disappear, and that social 
cohesiveness should be destroyed by a multitude of dis- 
tracting forces. But it is also only natural that, once 
these distractions have been weighed and placed in their 
proper position in perspective, thoughtful rural leaders 
should seek to restore the values obtained in community 
organizations. Not that it is possible or desirable to 
return to the earlier forms of social organization, but that 
the spirit of the old be reintegrated in the forms of the 
new. Not that rural free delivery should be abolished 
and the automobile discarded, but that these should be 
used along with other improvements of rural living, for 
the development of a more powerful form of social life. 

To the accomplishment of this end the community 
center has become a valuable agency which, although 
yet in its infancy, has been productive of great good in 
restoring the pleasures of country life, reinstating the 
teacher in his rightful place of leadership, and making 
educational conditions so satisfactory that families do 
not need to leave the community in order to obtain at- 
tractive advantages. 

viii Editor's Preface 

In this field the author is a leader of national im- 
portance among school men. He has demonstrated 
the value of the methods by carrying them into success- 
ful practice, and by virtue of his practical experience he 
is able not only to describe the theories of developing 
community centers but to do what is absolutely essential 
— provide the reader with specific illustrations of the 
richest suggestiveness for carrying the theories into action. 
While these illustrations are chiefly applicable to com- 
munities in the open country, the theories apply with 
equal validity to the cities, and the illustrations are sug- 
gestive of methods which may be used in urban com- 
munity centers. 

w. w. c. 



Chapter I. The Community Center and the World 

War 1 

Chapter II. Leadership and the Community Center . 17 

Chapter III. The Community Center Idea ... 40 

Chapter IV. The Enjoyment of Leisure ... 57 

Chapter V. Recreation 71 

Chapter VI. Social Capital — Its Development and Use 78 

Chapter VII. The Community Center as an Aid to 

Teaching 91 

Chapter VIII. First Steps in the Community Center . 105 

Chapter IX. Special School Programs . . . .115 

Chapter X. Miscellaneous Activities within the Com- 
munity Center 124 

Chapter XI. Entertainment Programs for Community 

Meetings 141 

Chapter XII. Country Life Programs . . . .181 

Bibliography 209 

Index 213 






America gave to the world the most democratic in- 
stitution among civilized people — the public school. 
So thoroughly has this institution been established in this 
country that rarely can a family be found that is not within 
reach of a free public school. Yet it required a world war 
to impress the American people and the American Govern- 
ment with the strategic value of this public institution as 
a means of reaching all the people in matters of common 
concern. During the several months that America was 
engaged in the recent war against the Germans, we were 
told that this or that branch of the federal service would 
win the war. Mr. Herbert Hoover told us that food would 
win the war. Others told us that men and guns would 
win the war. We might have followed the example by 
asserting that the schools would win the war. Anyway, 
the war has been won by the friends of liberty and freedom, 
and we know that the schools, by serving as an active 
means of communication between the Government and the 
people, had a large part in achieving a victory for civiliza- 
tion. We know, for example, that if food did win the war, 
it did so largely because the school teacher and the school 


2 \ '< ' : c^ c . < ^^^ 6btnmunity Center 

children — the school — enabled the Food Administration 
to direct its messages to the people. 

In her article, "Getting Together/ '^ Miss Margaret 
Woodrow Wilson has indicated how difficult it was at first 
for the National Government to reach the people of our 
country with its plans for carrying on its part in the World 
War : '' Hitherto the Government has used the newspapers, 
the magazines, trade publications, public highways, wom- 
en's clubs, churches, patriotic bodies, fraternal and com- 
mercial organizations — in short, every conceivable channel 
to which it can gain entrance for the word it wishes to spread 
and which promises some assistance. The result is that 
some of the people are reached in a dozen different ways, 
even to the creation of cross-currents and a divided alle- 
giance, while others are not reached at all. . . . 

"The difficulty of the organizations through which the 
Government has tried to reach the people is that none 
of them offers a means of reaching all the people. But 
there is one institution in America, and only one, which 
reaches out to all the people, to all ages, sexes, and races 
at one time or another, and that is the public school.'' 

Every School a National Center. "More and more," 
says Dr. Finley,^ "are we coming to think of the school 
as the community or neighborhood center. And more 
and more are we in the schools coming, I think, to regard 
our work as a volunteer service to the state rather than 
a means of livelihood. But now our schools become 
suddenly recognized, under the message of our School- 
master President and under the appeals of our nation's 
needs, both to teachers and pupils, as national centers — 
centers through which these national needs may come to 

* Ladies* Home Journal, December, 1917 
» Educational Foundations, November, 1917 

The Community Center and the World War 3 

the knowledge of all the people, centers from and through 
which patriotic sentiment will express itself and patriotic 
service will give itself." 

At the midyear convention of the National Education 
Association, which met at Atlantic City, February 25- 
March 2, 1918, the program was given almost wholly 
to discussions of the public school as a national institution. 
We in America are beginning at last to think of the school 
not solely as a community asset but also as a national 
asset of supreme importance. Perhaps the most hopeful 
phase of this awakening is the disposition of our leading 
educators to regard the rural school, however small, as 
being of equal importance with the larger school units 
in matters of national welfare. 

Congress Contemplates Federal Aid. The Congress 
of the United States has had under consideration the 
proposition of providing federal aid to rural schools, in 
recognition of their value as a means of training efficient, 
loyal citizens of the Republic. The fact that such a 
large number of the men drafted into the army service 
were illiterate has done as much as any other one thing, 
perhaps, in causing the National Government more fully 
to realize the potential value of the school as an asset 
to national well-being. 

A Letter from President Wilson. President Wilson has 
been among the first to appreciate the new opportunities 
of the school as revealed to us by the necessities of war. 
On August 23, 1917, he addressed to school officials the 
following letter : 

The war is bringing to the minds of our people a new appreciation 
of the problems of national life and a deeper understanding of the 
meaning and aims of democracy. Matters which heretofore have 
seemed commonplace and trivial are seen in a truer light. The 

4 The Community Center 

urgent demand for the production and proper distribution of food 
and other national resources has made us aware of the close depend- 
ence of individual on individual and nation on nation. The effort to 
keep up social and industrial organizations in spite of the withdrawal 
of men for the army has revealed the extent to which modern life 
has become complex and specialized. 

These and other lessons of the war must be learned quickly if we 
are intelligently and successfully to defend our institutions. When 
the war is over, we must apply the wisdom which we have acquired in 
purging and ennobling the life of the world. 

In these vital tasks of acquiring a broader view of human possi- 
bilities, the common school must have a large part. I urge that 
teachers and other school officers increase materially the time and 
attention devoted to instruction bearing directly on the problems of 
community and national life. 

Such a plea is in no way foreign to the spirit of American public 
education or of existing practices. Nor is it a plea for a temporary 
enlargement of the school program appropriate merely to the period 
of the war. It is a plea for a realization in public education of the 
new emphasis which the war has given to the ideals of democracy 
and to the broader conceptions of national life. 

In order that there may be definite material at hand with which 
the schools may at once expand their teaching, I have asked Mr. 
Hoover and Commissioner Claxton to organize the proper agencies 
for the preparation and distribution of suitable lessons for the ele- 
mentary grades and for the high school classes. Lessons thus sug- 
gested will serve the double purpose of illustrating in a concrete 
way what can be undertaken in the schools, and of stimulating 
teachers in all parts of the country to formulate new and appropriate 
materials drawn directly from the communities in which they live. 

Lessons in Community and National Life. Following 
these suggestions of President Wilson, Mr. Hoover and 
Commissioner Claxton arranged for the publication, by 
the United States Bureau of Education, of Lessons in 
Community and National Ldfe, prepared by experts under 
the direction of Dr. Charles H. Judd and Dean Leon 
C. Mar^hall^ of the University of Chicago. In the in- 

The Community Center and the World War 5 

troduction to the series of volumes Director Judd states 
the purpose of the Lessons in Community and National 
Life to be : 

(1) To lay the foundations for an intelligent enthusiasm for the 
United States. 

(2) To bring industry into the schools in a way which will appeal 
to the intelligence of pupils and will intellectualize all later con- 
tact with practical affairs. 

(3) To create a sense of personal responsibility, which can re- 
sult only when the pupil is shown how life is interdependent with 
the life of other members of society. 

Lessons for Adults. As this book proceeds, it will 
be apparent how this project for "a realization in public 
education of the new emphasis which the war has given 
to the ideals of democracy and to the broader conceptions 
of national life," is related to the aim of the community 
center. What these lessons aim to teach the children 
in the schools, the community center aims to teach all 
the people as they assemble at their schoolhouses. This 
partially compensates those of a previous generation for 
the loss they sustained by the shortcomings of the schools 
of their day. 

Other Nations and the Community Center. Due 
doubtless to her once highly centralized form of govern- 
ment, Germany was perhaps the first to recognize the 
significance of the public school as a national and com- 
munity center. In the days 'of her prosperity, every 
teacher in Germany was a trained specialist in the direct 
employ of the state. He was the recognized leader of 
his community. Through him the government carried 
out its plans of making every family a national asset/ 
Through this local leader the people were instructed, 
directed, and informed by the German government. 

6 The Community Center 

The school, in other words, was the means the govern- 
ment used for its contact with the people. And, al- 
though the German government made the school, as 
everything else, an instrument of the state, yet the 
efficiency with which the plan was executed emphasizes 
all the more the efficacy of the school as a commimity 
center for the strengthening of national ideals. 

Of the democratic nations, France saw first, and per- 
"haps more clearly than other nations, the powerful aid 
of the school in keeping up the morale of the people during 
the darkest days of her recent struggle. Every week, in 
all the schoolhouses of France, men and women and 
youths assembled at evening to listen to the reading of 
the " Bulletin," a printed statement containing news 
from the bureaus in Paris about the conduct and the 
progress of the war. It would be hard to overestimate 
the influence which this coming together had upon the 
fortunes and the successes of the armies of France. 

Experience of the United States Government. For- 
tunately, very soon after the United States entered the 
war, our Government saw not only the possibilities of 
the school in communicating its calls for service to the 
people, but also, as Miss Wilson states, the absolute 
necessity of the school in carrying out the Government's 
programs of waging war against Germany and her allies. 
The results of the Food Pledge Card Campaign, which 
was carried to success largely through the medium of the 
schools by the teachers and pupils, and by public gather- 
ings of the people at the schoolhouses, led the Govern- 
ment to resort to the same means for carrying on the 
•Liberty Loan drives, the Red Cross drives, the sale of 
war savings stamps, etc. Many thousands of people 
were informed about, and became interested in, these 

The Community Center and the World War 7 

several enterprises of the Federal Government, who 
possibly could not have been reached in any other way. 
The success of all of these campaigns has demonstrated 
beyond question that the school is the surest, cheapest, ^ 
and speediest means the Government had of reaching all 
the people, and of securing their cooperation in prosecut- 
ing its program of helping to make the world safe for 

This is true : (1) because some of our citizens either 
cannot, or do not, read newspapers, magazines, etc. ; 
(2) because some who do read these fail to grasp from 
printed matter the significance and the gravity of the 
messages or appeals contained therein, while a teacher 
may make all such matters reasonably plain and im- 
pressive by verbal explanations to assembled groups of 
citizens ; (3) because a number of our citizens are not ac- 
customed to attend public gatherings where information 
of this sort may be given out, whereas their children may 
carry home from the school both their own interpretation 
of the situation, and bulletins, circulars, etc., which 
otherwise would not reach the people; and (4) because 
the cooperative action of people assembled is much more 
effective than individual action. 

Given a wide-awake teacher in every community, who 
is at the same time even a fairly competent leader, and 
let such teacher have effective contact with state and 
national leaders, the Federal Government is in position 
to call forth the full strength and resources of the people. 
The school, in other words, is the most effective means 
a democracy has of mobilizing the thought, the energy, 
and the full strength of the nation. 

8 The Community Center 


The use of the public school as a means for the self- 
expression of a people is a modern practice. But the 
principle involved in such practice is as old as democracy 
itself. Professor Charles Zueblin ^ says : " The organiza- 
tion of people for self-expression dates back to primitive 
times. Public discussions were familiar in the little 
democracies of Greece and subsequently in Rome. The 
German Mark and Swiss Commune furnished the best 
example of freedom of public discussion and public 
actions. The oldest democratic organization now exist- 
ing, and historically the most important, is the Landes 
Gemeinde of Switzerland. From the thirteenth century 
the male citizens of several Swiss cantons have assembled 
from their mountain homes for the conduct of public 
affairs by the living voice in the open air." Professor 
Zueblin says further : " The larger use of the school- 
house and the organization of social centers are not 
novelties. They are the twentieth-century revival and 
expression of that democratic spirit which has been vital 
at intervals for more than two thousand years/' 

Dr. Samuel M. Crothers ^ voices the same sentiment 
when he says : " The present movement for using the 
schoolhouse of a city for the promotion of neighborhood 
life is one that has a long history — as long as democracy. 
It is the attempt to adapt ancient usages to modem 
conditions. The sense of social solidarity which gives 
rich and deep meaning to the word ' neighbor * is in 
danger of being lost. The neighbor is the ' nigh dweller/ 

^ Historical Antecedents of the Modern Social Center 

' The American Historic Antecedents of the Modem Social Center 

The Community Center and the World War 9 

but what signifies this if the door of his dwelling be shut? 
The house with its locks and bars becomes the symbol 
of exclusive individualism. . . . Those who are opening 
our schoolhouses for the largest public services are simply 
carrying on the traditions of freedom.'' 


The ancient custom which the people of the Swiss 
cantons had of coming together in the open air and 
deciding, by the " living voice/^ the nature of their com- 
munity affairs was followed by our early New England 
communities, particularly in school affairs. These New 
Englanders came together for a definite purpose — to 
employ a teacher, to fix his salary, to determine the length 
of the school term, and to fix the amount of school revenues 
to be raised. 

Are the Good Old Days Gone Not to Return ? For a 
period of years covering most of the nineteenth century 
rural people were accustomed to assemble frequently, 
usually at their schoolhouses, for the purpose of entertain- 
ment and social enjoyment. Those were the days of the 
" spelling bee," the " school literaries," and " debating 
societies." During the same period the people frequently 
assembled at one another's homes for " corn-huskings," 
" barn-raisings," " log-rollings," " threshings," " apple- 
cuttings," " bean stringings," etc. For the most part 
these occasions were for mutual help, doing collectively 
what the farmers or their wives and daughters were unable 
to do unaided ; while, on the other hand, many of these 
occasions, such as " apple-cuttings " and the like, were 
merely excuses for both young and old to get together 
for a good " sociable " time. Gradually these customs 

10 The Community Center 

became almost wholly abandoned, the people becoming 
less and less neighborly. Community social life gave 
way to family isolation and community stagnation. And 
it is a question whether this loss of rural social customs is 
not to some extent responsible for the exodus of rural 
populations to the cities which has been taking place for 
the past quarter of a century. May we not hope for a 
revival of those old-time social customs? 

The Reviving Spirit of the Community Center. We 
are reminded, therefore, that the example of the com- 
munity center is as old as the idea of democracy and 
freedom itself ; that the community center idea has been 
a prominent factor in the development of our democratic 
institutions in America; and that, when we came to a 
crisis in our national existence and in the very existence 
of democracy itself, the schools suddenly mobilized them- 
selves as among the most powerful agencies the National 
Government had for prosecuting its part in the World 

Revival Had Already Begtin. ^ut before the national 
significance of the community center became evident to 
our state and national leaders, there had been for several 
years a notable revival of the community center as an 
agency of community betterment. At first this move- 
ment was confined mainly to the cities, taking various 
forms as community centers, recreation centers, parent- 
teacher associations, civic leagues, etc. New York City 
now has more than one hundred and fifty community 

Within the past decade, however, rural districts also 
have witnessed a marked revival in community center 
activities. State departments of education and state col- 
leges of agriculture had issued bulletins urging teachers 

The Community Center and the World War 11 

to organize their communities into social and civic centers. 
A great many leaders of rural life betterment had stressed 
the importance and the social and moral significance of 
such activities. A large number of rural communities, 
under the leadership of the minister, the teacher, or 
some public-spirited citizen, had achieved marked success 
along many lines of rural life betterment. These successes 
demonstrated to many the great possibilities of the school 
as a means of improving country life and its institutions, 
and also the fact that the school as a community center 
is one of the best means we have of reaching all the people 
and of helping them to work out their mutual welfare. 


The World War is at an end, with the triumph of 
democracy and civilization. Shall we not profit by our 
experiences with the school as a center for the promotion 
of national activities during the period of the war? What 
lessons has our experience taught us? If our schools 
have helped to win the war, may they not likewise help 
us to be a better and more efficient people in time of 
peace? If our schools have helped to raise funds for 
the Red Cross, to bind up the wounds of our stricken 
soldiers in time of war, may they not help the nation in 
health campaigns designed to keep our people well and 
strong in time of peace ? — to keep them efficient pro- 
ducers and happy citizens? If the school helped the 
Government to raise billions by the sale of liberty bonds 
and war savings stamps, may we not depend upon it 
to raise thousands when we come to vote peace bonds for 
the erection of school buildings, for building public high- 
ways, or for any other worthy community purpose? 

12 The Community Center 

During the period of national danger we have all been 
on tiptoes, so to speak. Shall we relax, now that peace 
has come, and sink back into the easy-going habits of 
pre-war times? If we do so, we shall not have profited 
much by our bitter experiences in this world struggle. 
We shall hardly be deserving of the victory v/on. 

Unlimited Possibilities. — The response of the schools 
to the nation's needs in war and the extraordinary results 
achieved demonstrated the fact that with capable leader- 
ship there are tremendous possibilities in the community 
center for almost any worthy project of community im- 
provement, whether by community we mean the nation, 
the state, or the municipality. For when a meritorious 
proposition is put before a group of Americans in such a 
way that they may discuss and understand it, nine out 
of ten will favor it. The great trouble heretofore has 
been, as already stated, that, with certain notable excep- 
tions, we have had no way of reaching all the people with 
our proposals for community improvement, and, merely 
because they have not understood what was to be gained, 
many citizens have too often stood squarely against com- 
munity progress. 

Virginia's Example. The state of Virginia will serve 
as an example of what organized communities may ac- 
complish. For several years, through the agency of the 
Cooperative Education Association, a considerable group 
of educational leaders of Virginia have been organizing 
school improvement leagues. In the fall of 1917, when 
the National Food Administration appealed to the schools 
of the nation to aid in the Food Pledge Card Campaign, 
Virginia had 1062 active leagues with a total membership 
of 34,885. The name and post-office address of the leader 
of each league was on file with the executive secretary of 

The Community Center and the World War 13 

the association. Upon receiving this call to service, the 
executive secretary had merely to address a circular letter, 
together with such printed matter, circular letters, etc., 
as were available, to the several local leaders, calling upon 
all to assemble the members of their respective leagues 
at the schoolhouses for the purpose of carrying out their 
part in this campaign. Without a single exception, 
these leagues promptly came together at their school- 
houses and performed their part in the Food Pledge Card 

Within ten days the pledge cards were in the hands of 
the executive secretary of the association, who promptly 
forwarded them to the Food Administration in Washing- 
ton. Such remarkable efficiency led the Food Adminis- 
trator to call the executive secretary to Washington to 
explain how the work was so well and so speedily accom- 
plished. Following this conference, the Food Adminis- 
tration undertook to enlist the cooperation of all such 
community organizations throughout the country. These 
school improvement leagues in Virginia proved to be 
equally efficient in every other government enterprise 
which appealed to the people for assistance in carrying 
out our war programs. 

The activities of the Virginia school improvement 
leagues just enumerated were, to be sure, directed towards 
meeting a national emergency. But, meanwhile, their 
work of local community improvements went forward 
almost as in times of peace. The Annual Report of the 
Commission enumerates local activities in the year 1917 
as follows : 

A special Good Roads Meeting was held by 184 leagues, and in 
almost every instance something was done to improve the neighbor- 
hood road ; 214 held a Better Farm and Garden Meeting before the 

14 The Community Center 

first of May, and our supplemental report indicates that practically 
every reporting league has held one or more farm improvement meet- 
ings since then. May or Community Day was observed by 191, 
and 113 found time for Better Church Day, when the needs of the 
churches of the community were studied and many improvements 
made. This record indicates that a total of 1363 special meetings 
were held during the year, in addition to the special war service 

With an efficient organization such as the Virginia 
School Improvement League, what could not a state 
accomplish through legislation, publicity, health cam- 
paigns, etc.? What could not a county accomplish in 
the way of building good roads and better schools, purify- 
ing politics, etc. ? And what could not the local neighbor- 
hood accomplish in social, moral, educational, and economic 

Every School a Community Center. But since we 
entered into the World War, our experiences in carrying 
forward the Government's programs have taught us 
that a formal organization of the community is not really 
necessary; that the school itself is, or can be made, all 
the organization that we need to secure community 
cooperation for almost any worthy project. It is a great 
lesson that we have leaped, and let us not forget it, now 
that peace has come. It means that within reasonable 
reach of every home we have a public hall, the school- 
house, where the people may come together for enter- 
tainments, discussions, social enjoyment, or for any pur- 
pose, in fact, which concerns the people. It means that 
without additional expense we have a paid leader, the 
teacher, whose duty it becomes to coordinate all the forces 
of the community in worthy efforts for local improve- 
ments. So we have all the facilities at hand for carrying 
out any necessary program for community improvements. 

The Community Center and the World War 15 

We may affirm, therefore, that to-day we have either 
active or latent as many community centers as we have 

It is true that not all the states have statutes allowing 
the public school building to be used for community meet- 
ings. But it is reasonable to expect that with the efforts 
now being brought to bear upon state legislatures to 
grant the people the use of their own property, laws 
will soon be enacted to this end. It ought not to be 
necessary, indeed, to have laws granting the people what 
is so clearly their inherent right. 

Leadership Is of First Importance. In a great many 
communities a lot of preliminary work will be necessary 
before the community center will begin to bear its best 
fruits. The whole problem hinges upon the quality of 
leadership which our teachers possess. Without capable 
leadership very little can be done. But take the country 
over, and it will be found that most of the teachers of 
America have the willingness and the capacity to under- 
take such work if only they can be shown how. It is the 
chief purpose of this book to detail some experiences of 
successful leaders, and to offer some suggestions as to the 
nature and procedure of community center work. 


1. State what your school as a national community center did 
in war activities. 

2. Select a community that you have known and make a list of 
all the activities in which the school might engage for the general 
improvement of that community in peace times. 

3. For the same community make out a program for community 
progress by arranging in the order of their importance the things 
that should be done, the program to cover a period of from three to 
five years. 

16 The Community Center 

4. Indicate the activity that should be undertaken first in carry- 
ing out this program and outline in detail the method of procedure 
that you would follow. 

5. What effects would you expect the carrying on of that activity 
to have on your working out of the general program under exercise 3 ? 

6. Make a brief survey of the agencies or organizations in your 
community, the general purposes of which are in harmony with the 
general purposes of the community center, and, with the leaders of 
these organizations, devise plans for cooperation in a general program 
of community activities. 

7. From conversations with the older citizens or in other ways, 
find out and list the principal community activities engaged in by the 
people within the past fifty years. (Preserve this list for reference 
when you come to make up the first few programs of the community 
center meetings.) 

8. Interpret the experiences of the National Government in its 
several war drives in terms of definite suggestions for community 
center work in your community. 




In any kind of activity where groups of individuals 
work or act or play together, personal leadership is found 
to be the most important factor in the achievements 
attained. Indeed, without such leadership the phrase 
" group activities " is meaningless. In the average 
rural community where families are more or less isolated, 
and where in the past there have been comparatively 
few occasions calling for leadership, the present need of 
capable leaders is very much greater than in the cities 
and other thickly populated communities where a con- 
siderable number of the people have long been accustomed 
to work together for mutual welfare. Yet, in those rural 
communities where the people are apparently oblivious 
to the present need of concerted action in community 
improvements, there are usually a few citizens who stand 
out as recognized leaders of their groups. Such leader- 
ship may be wholly unconscious even on the part of the 
leaders themselves. 

Past experiences, as recorded in history and in literature 
dealing with social movements, as well as common observa- 
tion, justify the conclusion that most people look to leaders 
for direction of their thought and action, while only a few 
of any group offer themselves as leaders or wish to assume 
the responsibilities which leadership exacts. And if the 
right kind of leaders are not found, then the wrong kind 


18 The Community Center 

may assert themselves, with the result that the people 
are led in the wrong direction. If that be the ease, we 
might rightly infer that the present wave of Bolshevism 
that has gained many adherents may possibly be due to 
a preponderance of wrong leaders, or, what is more likely, 
to the inactivity of the right kind of leaders. 


Meaning of Leadership. To begin with, we should 
inquire into the meaning of leadership. In the first 
place, the leader must know the people whom he would 
lead. The successful politician understands this fact 
very clearly. He is always anxious to impress it upon 
the people that he is one of their own number and that he 
understands their every need. In that practice he is 
merely recognizing one of the most fundamental facts 
of successful leadership. It is a fact which" the rural 
leader also will do well to recognize. He will need to be 
or to become a real member of the group. The more 
nearly he does understand the people and does see their 
points of view and sense their feelings and aspirations, 
the greater success he is likely to achieve. At the same 
time he must be able by example and suggestion to lead 
the people to better ways, to greater aspirations, and, 
finally and thereby, to greater enjoyment and apprecia- 
tion in their everyday lives. He cannot tell the people 
what to do, yet he will be able to lead them into such 
personal relations with one another and into such con- 
tact with their physical, social, and moral surroundings 
that they will, in consequence of their own efforts, ap- 
proach more nearly than at present the best that their 
surroundings afford. 

Leadership and the Community Center 19 

Secondly, the leader cannot direct a group of persons 
unless they are engaged in doing something. What they 
do matters not so much if only it be of common interest 
to the whole group. That fact will be considered at greater 
length in the next chapter. For the present, let us consider 
briefly some of the things that have been and are being 
done by rural leaders, and then turn to a consideration 
of the chief agencies now available for rural leadership. 

Leaders of National Importance. We have probably 
not yet had in this country a single great leader in rural 
life activities, such as Sir Horace Plunkett in Ireland 
or Bishop Grundwig in Denmark. Relatively large 
groups of men and women of national prominence have 
contributed much towards the solution of the various 
phases of the rural life problem by means of investiga- 
tion, publication, and public addresses, but chiefly through 
the institutions or agencies with which they are associated. 
Owing to the economic feature of its work and to the 
fact that it has the official and financial backing of the 
whole country, the United States Department of Agri- 
culture is doubtless the most powerful single force working 
to-day for the solution of the rural life problem. The 
United States Bureau of Education, under the direction of its 
present commissioner, is rendering distinguished service, 
particularly by disseminating knowledge of the facts 
about the rural situation. Various private agencies of 
national significance are contributing towards the same 
purpose by investigations, publications, and, not infre- 
quently, by financial assistance to worthy projects. 

State Leadership. The state college of agriculture 
has become a powerful agency for rural leadership in 
nearly every state in the Union. Through its excep- 
tional opportunities for training local leaders, both by 

20 The Community Center 

its instruction in the institution and in developing leaders 
in the local communities, the state college of agriculture 
is achieving notable results in improving almost every 
phase of rural life conditions. The state department 
of education in some states has assumed active leader- 
ship in certain phases of the rural life movement in addition 
to its special work of improving the schools, and in almost 
every case it cooperates with the other state agencies in 
the general program of rural life improvement. The 
state board of health and the state road commission 
are other agencies of the state working directly towards 
the improvement of country life. 

Local Leadership. Finally, returning to the work of 
the local communities, where most of the actual leading 
must be done, we may note as of first importance the 
county superintendent of schools, and, next to him, the 
county agricultural agent. These two county leaders 
help one another in carrying out the county program of 
rural life improvements. In the district (township), also, 
we now find in many instances a school supervisor or a 
district superintendent and in some cases an agricultural 
agent or leader. In the local communities we have the 
teacher, the minister, and other leaders cooperating with 
these appointed leaders. We shall consider the oppor- 
tunities and the activities of all of these several kinds of 
leadership in the following paragraphs of this chapter. 


1. The Rural Home. First in importance among the 
agencies for rural leadership is the home. Theodore 
Roosevelt once said : "In the development of character, 
the home should be more important than the school or 

Leadership and the Community Center 21 

than society at large." It is in the country, we believe, 
that we find the simplest home life. In the country home 
all the members are still accustomed to assemble at meal 
hours around the family board and in the evening around 
the fireside. Their work is for the benefit of all; there 
are fewer distractions, and it is generally believed fewer 
temptations to evil, than are to be found surrounding 
the urban home. Let the members of a convenient group 
of these homes come together with a common interest, 
whether for amusement, for athletic contests, or for 
cooperative helpfulness, with a leader among them, and 
we have all the conditions which are necessary for a live 
community center. On the other hand, let the home 
disintegrate, and then not only would all possibility of 
community cooperation disappear, but society itself 
would fall to pieces. 

Is the Rural Home Improving or Degenerating? 
Whether the rural home is maintaining its former prestige 
is just now a debatable question. There is a general 
impression that the country is the best place in the world 
to live and to bring up a family of clean, honest, healthy 
children. Under the most favorable conditions, that 
impression is doubtless correct. Just to what extent 
rural life conditions may be improving or deteriorating 
no one knows. If greater intelligence results in better 
living, and we believe it does, then it must be admitted 
that country life is improving; for we may reasonably 
assume that with the improvement of the teaching and 
of the physical conditions of the rural schools, both of 
which are evident, the general level of rural life is being 
elevated. The physical conditions in and about the 
average country home have undoubtedly been greatly 
improved within the past decade. And, although the 

22 The Community Center 

Federal Government has reported that the physical health 
of country youth strikes a somewhat lower level than 
that of city children, the comparison is not so significant 
as it might appear upon the surface. For example, the 
city child has better opportunities to consult a physician 
or a dentist or an oculist than the country child has, and 
that alone may account for some of the reported differ- 
ences in physical welfare. 

Whether the moral tone of country folk is hi 
lower than that of city folk or of the country p. ^ 

the last generation, is also a question which cani^ot be- 
answered and which might not be of great consequence 
in any event. The most important thing for the rural 
life leader to know is what he can do to help the people 
with whom he comes in contact to improve the present 

If a sufficiently large number of rural life leaders 
were so distributed throughout the country that every 
family in the land could come under the influence of 
one such leader, the rural life problem would be in a 
fair way of solving itself. Potentially, we have the re- 
quired number of such leaders and they are so distributed. 
Reference is made, of course, to the rural teachers of this, 
country. The rural teachers can, in the schoolroom and 
in the community center, put new life into their respective 
communities; they can stimulate the members of these 
communities to new aspirations; they. can do much to^ 
restore self-confidence in the parents wherever, .^^elf^^ 
confidence may be lacking; and they can help to keep; 
the youth satisfied with country life. To maintain the 
integrity, the unity, the aliveness, and the permanency 
of the country home may be said to constitute the foiinda- 
tion work of the community center. 

Leadership and the Community Center 23 

2. The Rural Church. Next to the home the church 
is of greatest importance as an agency for rural leadership. 
The rural church has doubtless lost many opportunities 
for such leadership. Such rural surveys as have been 
made are almost unanimous in the conclusion that the 
rural church is to-day losing ground. Dr. Warren H. 
Wii«or of the Department of Church and Country Life 
^Presbyterian Board of Home Missions has made a 
^^of rural life surveys, the published reports of 
vJli*i!J%int a rather dark picture. A survey of forty- 
four niinois communities, averaging fifty-four square 
miles each, showed that " in the whole territory surveyed 
forty-seven churches have died, of which twenty-nine 
were country churches.^' While emphasizing the decline 
of country churches, we find, however, no special com- 
ment in this report on the fact that the other eighteen 
churches, or 38.3 per cent, were, probably, city churches. 
Dr. Wilson's report of a similar survey in Missouri 
states the following : " The appearance of an abandoned 
church is usually that of the abomination of desolation — 
windows broken, organ broken, pulpit broken, seats in 
confusion, a bird's nest or two up near the roof, and in 
some corner a tramp's bed made out of the folded carpet. 
It is safe to say that many other churches are on the road 
to abandonment, for less than half of these country 
churches of these three counties are increasing in member- 
ship." The foregoing description is doubtless true to 
-ae lacts revealed in the survey in question. It is only 
fair to state, however, that according to the last United 
States Census the population in many rural communi- 
ties is decreasing because of the constant migration of 
country folk to the towns and cities. That being the 
case, the failure of the rural churches to increase their 

24 The Community Center 

memberships would seem to be a natural consequence of 
such loss of persons available for church membership. 

Loss of Leaders and of Wealth. There can be no 
doubt that in the past two or three decades the rural 
population of this country has been undergoing a great 
transformation. Many of the strongest leaders of the 
country have gone to the cities and they have taken with 
them much of the wealth of the country. As a general 
proposition, it may be stated that it is the more ambitious 
and capable youths and the more prosperous and pro- 
gressive adults who are most likely to go to the city. 
The wide-awake young man, even without capital, has a 
fair chance of establishing himself there. But when a 
family goes to the city it must have sufficient capital with 
which to establish a business and a home, or else be sat- 
isfied with eking out a scant existence on the income of 
its members. Therefore, the general tendency is towards 
a constant increasing of the population and wealth of 
the cities at the expense of the rural communities. To 
such economic conditions, far more than to any general 
slackening of the moral and religious consciousness, is 
due, we venture to state, the decadence of the rural church. 
For when a community has lost its more capable youths 
and its more prosperous citizens, it is no longer the same 
community. Something resembling a chemical change 
has taken place in its composition. Certain readjust- 
ments must inevitably be made in order that it may pursue 
its life under changed and changing conditions. For that 
reason it is necessary for rural leaders to study carefully 
the new organism in order to determine what readjust- 
ments shall be made in its economic outlook and in its 
moral, religious, and social life, to make it once more a 
normal unit of society. 

Leadership and the Community Center 25 

One of the strongest incentives prompting rural folk to 
migrate to the cities is discontent with the country. That 
is not true of the well-to-do families who are able by 
employing labor to avoid the drudgery of farm life and 
who can go to the city by automobile in an hour or less for 
shopping, entertainment, and worship. But it is very true 
of families who have to do their own work and who have 
very little opportunity to get away from their daily chores 
even for an occasional mingling with friends or for enter- 
tainment of any kind. That is particularly true in regard 
to the mother and the children after the latter reach the 
age of twelve to fifteen. Such discontent springs partly 
from the connections which have been established between 
former members of the community who have already 
gone to the city, and their friends and relatives in the 
country. Those who remain on the farm occasionally 
visit their old-time friends in the city; they receive 
letters from them which tell of the advantages of city 
life; they read the city newspapers, and in such ways 
they allow their imaginations to draw very sharp con- 
trasts between the city and the country, usually to the 
disadvantage of the latter. As a consequence, they are 
likely to lose interest in the school, in the church, and in 
farm life in general. They come to feel that they are 
missing their opportunities, that they are being left 
behind in the pursuit of pleasure and happiness. Nat- 
urally they, too, long to get away from the farm to the 
city, where they fancy they will be better situated. 

On the surface it might appear that the rural ministry 
is largely responsible for the decadence of the rural church. 
But the present condition of the rural church, and of 
country life in general, is fundamentally due to such 
situations as have just been described. If we could 

26 The Community Center 

extract from American life of past and present times the 
net results of the work of its rural ministry, we should 
then be better able to estimate the magnificent achieve- 
ments of the country minister. For through those men 
and women who have left the country to make their 
homes in the city the rural minister has contributed as 
much to the welfare of the city, perhaps, as to the welfare 
of those who have remained with him in the country. 
And we have reason to believe that the rural minister 
of to-day is as zealous for the welfare of his people as he 
has ever been in the past. , 

The Church as a Community Center. /As with the 
school, so with the church, much depends upon the quality 
of the leadership that is offered. A great many rural 
ministers have assumed leadership in their communities, 
and their achievements are worthy examples of what 
may be done by the church as a community center. The 
greatest obstacle in the way of such leadership is, of 
course, sectarianism, especially in communities where 
several different church denominations are represented. 
There have been many happy instances, however, where 
all the ministers and their congregations were able to 
put aside their denominational feelings temporarily and 
to unite in community social and recreational activities^ 
We believe that as time goes on there will tend to be more 
and more of such unity for the general good and that 
thereby the people of such communities will be greatly 
benefited. Farmers' clubs, women's clubs, boys' and 
girls' organizations of various kinds, literary societies, 
and many other agencies for community improvement 
may be centered in the church as successfully, perhaps, 
as in the school. The war- work campaigns have done 
much to poiut out to the ministers and to the people 

Leadership and the Community Center 27 

generally the great opportunities that lie in the united 
effort of all the people, and we may be assured that many 
rural ministers will be quick to see the significance of 
such lessons and to turn them to practical purposes in 
time of peace. 

3. School Extension Work. The extension service of 
a large number of colleges, universities, and normal schools 
throughout the United States, particularly that of the 
state colleges of agriculture, is perhaps the most effective 
and the most far-reaching work that is being done at the 
present time towards the reorganization and rejuvenation 
of rural life forces. In this work, fortunately, we have the 
aid of the Federal Government. We now have the state 
farm manager in charge of the several county agricultural 
agents, the state organizers of boys' and girls' agricultural 
clubs, the state agent in charge of each of the general 
divisions of the farming business. In addition to their 
particular work in improving agriculture, these men 
and women seek to help in every possible way to better 
country life conditions. Furthermore, the colleges of 
agriculture are doing a notable service by training a large 
number of local, county, and state leaders for carrying 
on community activities among rural populations. 

Economic Considerations. But perhaps the chief 
significance of their work in its final results lies in the 
fact that these institutions are dealing primarily with 
the economic phases of rural life problems. It takes 
money to support a church, money to build roads, money, 
and lots of it, to establish and maintain an efficient public 
school system. Farmers must make money if they would 
have it to spend for public institutions. They must have 
something left after paying their taxes, if they would feel 
like spending more upon their schools, more towards the 

28 The Community Center 

support of the churches, more towards the improvement 
of public highways. Let a farmer have enough left to 
enable him to put something by for a rainy day, to own 
an automobile, and to spend a reasonable amount for 
the personal pleasure of himself and his family, and then 
living in the country will not so greatly disturb his family's 
peace of mind. For it is claimed by some students of 
rural life conditions that boys and girls are sometimes 
attracted to the city more by their desire to have more 
money for personal conveniences than by their mere 
desire to live in the qity. To this end the extension 
divisions of the colleges, universities, and normal schools 
are contributing most effectively to the solution of country- 
life problems. Their work furnishes a fine example both 
of the need and of the effectiveness of capable, trained, 
earnest rural life leaders. The activities of these leaders 
are carried on through what we conceive to be community 
centers, — the people acting together in matters of com- 
mon interest to all. 

4. The Rural School. In this chapter we have thus 
far tried to point out the necessity of leadership as an 
element of progress in rural life betterment, and to indi- 
cate the possibilities of the home, the church, and the 
extension service of colleges, universities, and other 
institutions as agencies for rural leadership. Next in 
order, but certainly not least in importance, is the rural 
school as an agency for rural leadership. 

The Strategic Position of the School for Rural Leader- 
ship. Of the four agencies, namely, the home, the church, 
the extension service, and the school, the school occupies 
distinctly the most advantageous position as an immediate 
active agency for rural leadership. The home is an agency 
of rural life progress only, of course, in its peculiar relation 

Leadership and the Community Center 29 

to the other three agencies mentioned; the church will 
be handicapped more or less in many places as an agency 
for community leadership because of its sectarian nature ; 
while the extension service of the several educational 
institutions mentioned is more or less dependent upon 
the rural school as the agency of its activities. (The 
school has the advantage (1) of being free from partisan 
and sectarian influences, (2) of being a public institution, 
(3) of being within reach of all the people, and (4) of 
having the teacher as a paid pubUc officer, from whom 
the people may well expect a reasonable service in addition 
to his classroom work. Furthermore, from the very 
nature of his position, the teacher has an opportunity for 
leadership not possessed to the same degree by any other 
person in the community., 

That in many communities the rural school is yet in a 
backward condition cannot be denied. Yet at the same 
time the potentiality of the rural school as a means of 
leadership cannot well be overestimated. This institu- 
tion is in the peculiar position of being under the necessity 
of reviving and rejuvenating itself while it is at the same 
time charged with the duty of rendering a like service 
to the community. Yet, it can revive and rejuvenate 
itself only by aiding the people themselves to reaUze the 
best that country life affords. When the rural school 
shall do that for the country people, it will have reached 
its highest ideals and its loftiest purposes. 

The Teacher as Leader. How, then, may the rural 
school accomplish this great purpose and realize its highest 
ideals? Mainly through the personal leadership of the 

Of course, the teacher's efforts must be supplemented. 
Those who write textbooks may have to put into them 

30 The Community Center 

material better adapted for the use of the teacher in his 
attempts to help the pupils find themselves in their 
immediate environment. Those who outline courses of 
study and daily programs may have to give the teacher 
greater freedom in adapting his work to the needs and 
the environment of his immediate group of children. 
Those who prepare examination or test questions may 
have to modify their practices or else turn their attention 
to better employment. Boards of education may have 
to be more liberal in expending public funds, to supply the 
teacher with the necessary equipment for the school. 
Our normal schools may have to train teachers less in 
theory and superficiality, and more in practical, useful 
service. The people will have to provide the teacher a com- 
petence commensurate with the service which he renders. 
The home, the church, and all other available rural life 
forces will have to cooperate with him in every possible 
way. But the teacher himself may have to get a truer 
and larger vision of his work than he now has; he will 
n^ed always to have a proper perspective of country life ; 
he will have to possess the genuine spirit of teaching and 
of social service. First, however, he must be a leader in 
his community, in order that he may be all things else to 
the school and to the people whom he serves. 

The Secret of Leadership. What is the secret of a 
teacher's successful leadership? First to be mentioned 
are his personal qualities, — power of initiative, courage, 
adaptability, good judgment of situations, and industry. 
In the second place, the country teacher must understand 
country people. He must know their thoughts, their 
feelings, their peculiarities, their prejudices, as well as 
their needs. Above all things else he must have a lot of 
good common sense about dealing with people. Thus 

Leadership and the Community Center 31 

equipped, the teacher may be assured of the confidence 
and the good will of the community. Then he will be 
able to lead them to see their own situations somewhat as 
he sees them. Seeing their situations in the true light, 
the people will be willing to follow the leadership of the 
teacher in accomplishing what they mutually desire. 

An understanding of the people and an ability to lead 
them to see their true situations are the two dominant 
qualities which have characterized every really great 
leader. These two qualities are of peculiar importance 
in the problem of rural life leadership. Whatever im- 
provements in economic, social, and moral conditions 
may be made, must be made by the country people them- 
selves; and such improvements must come chiefly out 
of their own resources. Leadership can help them only 
in so far as it helps them to find themselves in their en- 
vironment and then to devise means of improving their 
situations. If the teacher, or other leader, can first bring 
a group of people into a proper relation with their true 
situations, a mere suggestion may be all that is necessary 
to start them on the road to progress. Such suggestion 
may be made to come from one of their own number. 

An Example of Unconscious Leadership. We are re- 
minded of a countryman who several years ago imported 
from another state three pure-bred calves, one male and 
two females. These were the first pure-bred cattle to 
be brought into that community. His neighbors believed 
this man to be crazy. They could not understand why 
any sensible man would go into another state and pay 
twice as much for calves that were no better, so far as 
they could see, than could be obtained at home for a 
reasonable price. Not until this neighbor had received 
from ten to twenty dollars a head more for the offspring 

32 The Community Center 

of this improved breed of cattle than they received for 
their " scrub ^' product, did they allow themselves to 
believe that improved live stock pays. But once they 
were aroused to a sense of new possibilities in cattle 
breeding, and of an added income from their farms, they 
readily followed the example of that leader. 

Where or how this countryman got the idea of introduc- 
ing improved live stock into his community is not known, 
for that was before the day of agricultural agents. Doubt- 
less his motive was personal gain rather than community 
improvement. Be that as it may, the results were the 
same. His act brought new life, new aspirations, and 
moderate prosperity to a whole community. If we could 
find in each community a man who has the vision and 
the courage of his convictions to go ahead in any project 
for the improvement of his own situation, the rest of the 
community would in time be likely to follow his example. 

The Strategic Position of the Teacher. As has been 
already indicated, the teacher holds a strategic position 
as a rural life leader. He may not introduce improved 
live stock, improved farm machinery, etc., nor assume 
active leadership by example in working out many other 
important problems of rural life progress. His ultimate 
opportunity lies rather in his ability to find in his com- 
munity the men and the women whom he may encourage 
to assume active leadership in every department of rural 
life improvement. In other words, the teacher may 
lead best by discovering and helping to develop local 
leaders among the people themselves. 

The teacher's best means of accomplishing this purpose 
is the school and the community center. By these means 
he may develop " social capital," which may be made 
productive of rural life progress of many kinds. 

Leadership and the Community Center 33 

To assume personal leadership in a rural community, 
in the way herein indicated, is not an easy task, to be 
sure, yet it has been done time and time again. Perhaps 
no two teachers will do identically the same things, nor 
in exactly the same ways. But neither do any two 
teachers teach exactly the same things in precisely the 
same ways. Local conditions must be taken into con- 
sideration and the community activities must be adapted 
to actual conditions. The teacher must be keen to sense 
situations and to meet them in the most agreeable and 
effective way. 

Dealing with a Situation. As an illustration, let us 
cite the experience of one country teacher who went into 
a rural community to teach just an average rural school. 
She knew nothing about conditions there, but she had 
enough self-confidence to believe that she would be master 
of any situation that might arise. Accordingly, she 
arrived in the community a few days before the opening 
of school. Immediately she went to her schoolhouse to 
look the situation over. Then she sent out a call to all 
the children and their parents to meet her at the school- 
house at one o'clock on Saturday before the Monday 
when school would begin. This unusual procedure on 
the part of their teacher in itself so attracted the atten- 
tion of both children and parents that nearly all were 
present at the hour designated for the meeting. This was 
their first community center meeting. 

After getting acquainted, she began talking informally 
with the children and their parents about the condition 
of their school grounds, which, as they all could see, were 
covered with briers, weeds, and litter of every kind. 
Pretty soon one of the fathers said, " Well, let's clean it 
up, boys." At this suggestion, they procured a scythe, 

34 The Community Center 

cut the briers and weeds, and cleared away the rubbish. 
Meanwhile, the teacher had gone with the mothers and 
the girls into the schoolhouse. There they found the 
floors, walls, and windows dirty, and the whole place 
looking dingy. Following the example of the men and 
boys outside, they set about overhauling and thoroughly 
cleaning the interior of the building. 

By the time the schoolhouse and grounds had been 
put in order, there came up a hard rain which drove 
everybody into the schoolhouse. To the surprise of 
every one, except the children, the roof let in the rain in 
many places. Being equal to the occasion, the teacher 
addressed the assembly in some such words as these : 

" Friends, our school begins Monday and we are likely 
to have a lot of showers before the winter is over. Do 
you think it would be safe for these children to be ex- 
posed to weather like this when it gets cold? They 
would certainly be sick much of the time. Don't you 
think that something ought to be done to improve this 
condition? " 

This was a plain statement with a suggestion. No 
argument was necessary. After some discussion, it was 
decided at the teacher's suggestion that a committee be 
appointed to wait upon the board of education with the 
request that the roof be mended. The board informed 
this committee that all the funds had been appropriated 
for that year, but that by another year the repairs could 
be made. The committee made its report at a community 
meeting on the following Friday night. When the report 
had been submitted, the teacher asked what should be 
done. No one seemed to know. " Fll tell you," said 
the teacher, " if you think it would be best, we could get 
up an entertainment by the children and perhaps raise 

Leadership and the Community Center 35 

enough money to buy the shingles and nails." " If you'll 
do that," broke in a member of the committee, " we'll put 
'em on." All were agreed upon this plan. The enter- 
tainment was successful, and a brand new roof was put 
on the schoolhouse. 

One Achievement Prepares for Another. The miracle 
had been performed. The teacher had proved herself 
a leader. From that day forth, the community was 
completely subject to the wish of their teacher in school 
affairs. But putting a roof on the schoolhouse was not 
important in itself. A carpenter could have been hired 
to do that, if funds had been available. What was all 
important in this situation was the cooperative activity 
of the neighborhood in a matter of community interest, — 
the effect this activity had upon subsequent community 
activities and upon the life and the spirit of the com- 
munity as a whole. From that day forth every citizen 
felt a personal interest in his school and in his community. 
As time went on, weekly community meetings were held 
at the schoolhouse. Some of these meetings were purely 
social, some were for entertainment, some were informa- 
tional. The people began to discuss ways and means of 
improving their farms, their live stock, their houses, their 
roads, and their school. A farmers' reading circle, a 
mothers' club, and boys' and girls' agricultural clubs 
were organized, as special features of the community 
center. Under the leadership of the teacher, the school 
had become for the first time a cooperative unit of society. 

Developing Community Leaders. So let no one say, 
" It cannot be done." It is being done with greater or 
less degree of success by thousands of teachers every 
year. Many of our country's greatest leaders in every 
line of human endeavor have come from rural communis 

36 The Community Center 

ties. They have become great leaders because they have 
had opportunity to develop their powers. Among those 
who have remained on the farms there are likewise many 
who possess latent powers of leadership, needing but a 
word of encouragement from the local teacher to release 
their pent-up energies. 

Personal Courage of First Importance. The greatest 
obstacle in the path of the teacher charged with the 
responsibility of leadership is the fear of failure. Many 
teachers lack the courage necessary to make a beginning. 
But over and over again the wi'iter has heard teachers 
declare joyfully, " Everything went just fine after we 
got things started." We take the liberty to quote from 
a letter received recently from a rural school teacher who 
was not afraid to try. 

My school was located in a small village where there were no 
social activities whatsoever, except church and Sunday School, 
both of which were very poorly attended. I took great pains to 
advertise our first meeting. The topic of discussion for the even- 
ing was "Better Rural Schools." About sixty persons attended 
this meeting, a very unusual gathering for New Creek. Every one was 
delighted with the program, and I took care to speak to all the people 
and invite them to come again. The next program, "Ye Old Time 
School Days," was attended much better than the first. This pro- 
gram was for the older people. From this time on, the interest grew and 
our success was assured. Two evenings we had lantern-slide lectures 
on agricultural subjects. At Christmas time, the church and the 
school united and gave a Christmas program with a community 
Christmas tree. Our meetings were held every Friday evening, 
except when the weather was unusually bad. The average attend- 
ance was about sixty, the largest attendance being about one hun- 
dred. At least eighty per cent of the parents attended these meet- 
ings regularly. We raised about sixteen dollars for school improve- 
ments and now the whole community is taking an active interest 
in the school. 

I taught the school of thirty-six pupils without any trouble, which 

Leadership and the Community Center 37 

is something that had not been done here for several years. I am 
sure my success with the school was due in a measure to the com- 
munity center. We expect next year to turn the community center 
into an evening school for part of the time. The farmers of the 
community expect to get together to study agriculture. One of the 
best farmers in the community has volunteered to lead this study. 
The mothers expect to form a literary club. I expect to work from 
now on to interest illiterates in this movement. The teachers near by 
are going to cooperate with me, and we expect to make the work go. 

This letter is worthy of careful study. Note that 
" a very poorly attended '' church and Sunday School 
were the only " social " activities in this community. 
That is typical of the average rural community. The 
teacher " took great pains to advertise the first meeting." 
That is necessary if the teacher would have a good attend- 
ance. Note the topics for discussion at the first and 
second meetings : " Better Rural Schools " and " Ye 
Old Time School Days." The latter is particularly help- 
ful in getting the people to think about their schools. 
People, especially older people, like to hark back to the 
experiences of earlier days. Note also that the second 
meeting was better attended than the first, which is 
usually the case. " From this time on the interest grew 
and our success was assured . . . and now the whole 
community is taking an interest in the school." If a 
teacher can have eighty per cent of the community mem- 
bers with him at the schoolhouse once a week, he will 
have no complaint to make that the people do not show 
proper interest in his school ; for if the teacher will first 
show interest in his community, the community is almost 
sure to show interest in the school. Note also that the 
teacher had no trouble with the school of thirty-six. Of 
course not, because she had the loyal cooperation of the 
parents as well as of the children. 

38 The Community Center 

New Opportunities Become Visible. But the finest 
part of this teacher's experience is her outline for the 
next year, — a night school, a class in agriculture led by 
one of the best farmers of the community, a mothers' 
literary club, an opportunity for illiterates to overcome 
their handicap, and the cooperation of her neighbor 
teachers in all of these undertakings. How much better 
that is than to be wondering if next year she can find 
another school where she may have a little easier time! 
For one of the best features of the community center 
work is that usually the successful teacher becomes so 
interested in his community the first year that he feels 
he must stay longer in order to carry out the plans which 
he has already devised. It is the " doctrine of interest " 
applied in a very practical and a very effective way. 

The Press Takes Notice. Inclosed with the letter 
just quoted is a newspaper clipping, which the teacher 
did not mention but which is so suggestive of the possi- 
bilities of the community center at its best that we quote 
it also : 

A society known as the New Creek Civic Club has been organized 
in this community. The movement started with the members 
of the hygiene class of the New Creek School, who determined to 
band themselves together in order to carry on more successfully a 
war against the house fly, which has become a pest in our community. 
Other objects of the club are beautifying home grounds, destroying 
weeds and keeping the school grounds in order during the summer 
vacation. The movement has spread until a large number of citi- 
zens of the community have joined the club. 

A meeting is held every two weeks, at which the best ways of 
carrying on the war against the house fly are discussed and each mem- 
ber gives a report of what he or she has been doing. Literature on 
the house fly is to be scattered broadcast among the people of the 
community. The slogan of the club is "Clean up and beautify 
New Creek." 

Leadership and the Community Center 39 

Developing a Constructive Program. Such work grows 
from year to year. Attacking one problem reveals the 
existence, and suggests the solution, of many others. 
The program soon becomes constructive. If every school 
in the United States had as its teacher the kind of leader 
that New Creek school had, at least nine tenths of all our 
rural life problems would shortly work themselves out. 
The rural populations are not dead, but sleeping. They 
need waking up. They are like a vast army sleeping 
upon its arms, waiting for a leader to arouse them and 
to lead them forth to action. The logical leader of the 
rural community is the teacher, but many teachers are 
also sleeping. We have faith, however, that from year to 
year more and more of our rural teachers vdll hear the 
call to service and will respond to that call. 


1. To what extent have you made yourself a leader in the com- 
munities in which you have taught? 

2. What are the greatest obstacles you have met in becoming a 
community leader? 

3. How have you overcome such obstacles and with what success? 

4. Select a community with which you are acquainted, but in 
which you have not been a teacher, and explain in detail the method 
you would follow in making yourself a leader as teacher in that com- 

5. In the same community how would you secure the cooperation 
of the other agencies of rural leadership with the school? 

6. Indicate how you would employ the press as a means of es- 
tablishing your leadership in that community. 

7. Referring to exercise 4, state in some detail how you would 
proceed to secure the cooperation of the ministers and other recog- 
nized leaders in the community. 

8. For the community selected under exercise 4, outline in detail 
the method you would follow in 'developing local leaders from among 
the people. 




One who has familiarized himself with the literature 
dealing with the purposes and the methods of community 
center workers is forced to the conclusion that there is 
more or less agreement among these workers as to what 
the general purposes of the community center should be, 
but that there is still a good deal of confusion among 
the workers themselves, and especially among the people 
generally, as to just what the community center is, the 
particular problems it should undertake to solve, and the 
methods to be employed for attainmg the best results. 

A Definition of a Community. tThe first step in the 
development of the community center idea is to deter- 
mine what we mean by the phrase, rural community, 
Mr. C. J. Galpin of the University of Wisconsin has 
described the rural community as follows: 

Take the village as the community center; start out from here 
on any road into the open country; you come to a home, and the 
deep wear of the wheels out of the yard toward the village indicates 
that this home naturally goes to this village for trade, doctor, post- 
office, church, lodge, entertainment, high school; the next home 
the same, and the next, until by and by you come to a home where 
the ruts run the other way and the grass grows a little perhaps in the 
turn toward the village, and you find that this home goes to an ad- 
joining town for its major associations; between these two homes 
is the bounding line of the community. . . . The village and the 


The Community Center Idea 41 

open country form a community of homes which seem to be a sort 
of social drainage basin, beyond whose border every home drains 
off into some other basin/ 

The School Community. This definition of a rural 
community by Mr. Galpin is an excellent description of 
a community whose geographical center is a village: It 
is not, however, descriptive of the rural community of 
the open country, such as we shall usually have in mind 
in these discussions.'> For while the people of Mr. Gal- 
pin's village community go to the village for trade, doctor, 
lodge, and high school, the people of the strictly rural 
community do not go there for church and entertainment, 
except occasionally to church where none is to be found 
in the country, and for entertainment only upon some 
special occasion, such as the district or county fair or a 
Fourth of July celebration. Moreover, rural free delivery 
of mails has made it unnecessary for them to go to the 
village post office. Within such average village com- 
munity will be found a number of smaller communities — 
strictly rural — whose centers are the schoolhouses or 
the churches. It is these smaller rural communities, 
or neighborhoods, with which the rural community cen- 
ter is likely to be most concerned for the present. 

The size of the village community depends in part 
upon the topography of the country, the condition of the 
public highways, the facilities for transportation, and the 
sparsity of the population ; while the size of the smaller 
communities, or neighborhoods, is usually determined 
by the group of families who patronize the school or the 
church. The village itself, of course, is a community 
center for its own inhabitants and for those families who 
live in its immediate vicinity. /For our immediate pur- 
poses we may, therefore, define the rural community as 

42 The Community Center 

the group of homes from which the children go to the same 
school, wheth^ that he a one-teacher school or a consoli- 
dated school. 

It should be added, however, that the consolidation 
of a group of one-teacher schools does not in every case 
result in a corresponding consolidation of their respective 
school communities, and in such cases the benefits to be 
gained by the consolidation of schools are very greatly 
discounted. On the other hand, it will be found pos- 
sible in many places to consolidate a group of school 
communities into a single community center without 
at the same time consolidating the schools. Unless the 
schools and their communities can be consolidated at 
the same time, the most effective way of bringing about 
school consolidation of the best type may be first to 
consolidate the school communities through the activi- 
ties of the larger community center. 


Revival of Interest in Country Life. It has been claimed 
by some students of country life, that in a great many 
rural communities the people have no community interests ; 
that they have lost most of the interest they once possessed 
in country life, resulting in a corresponding loss of interest 
in their farms, their homes, their schools, their churches, 
and all things else pertaining to their present surroundings. 
To a certain extent that claim may be based on facts. 
There are many signs, however, indicating that, although 
these rural folk may have been at one time discouraged 
with existing conditions and opportunities, they have 
lately taken fresh courage and become better satisfied with 
the newer opportunities of the country. For example, 

The Community Center Idea 43 

we ought to consider in this connection the significance 
of the fact that within the past decade, and particularly 
within the past few years, rural people have voted bonds 
and special levies for schools, public highways, and other 
community improvements to an extent never before known 
in the history of this country. The majority vote upon a 
proposition to establish a high school in a community 
would seem to be a fairly accurate measure of the senti- 
ment of that community towards country life. 

Judging from that point of view, we may reasonably 
assume that a majority of the people now living in the 
country still have faith in its opportunities and that 
they are not so badly dissatisfied with their present 
situations as we have been led to suspect. There are 
indications also that the migration of rural populations 
to the cities may have passed the peak of that move- 
ment and that from now on we may expect greater sta- 
bility in the rural population. No doubt the present 
high prices which every kind of farm produce commands, 
and the correspondingly high cost of living in the city, 
are very largely responsible for this changed attitude 
of the rural folk, if we are correct in believing such change 
has taken place. Furthermore, the rural people are 
becoming better acquainted both with the advantages 
of the country and with some disadvantages of the city. 
Contributing directly to such knowledge are the schools, 
the agricultural agencies, and the publicity campaigns 
that have been carried on in recent years in the interests 
of country life. 

Such considerations as these increase our faith in the 
country and renew our hopes for continued improve- 
ment of country living. They do not, however, cover 
the whole rural situation. For in spite of what has al- 

44 The Community Center 

ready been attained in the way of improving rural con- 
ditions, more and greater achievements await the efforts 
of the present and future generations. In fact, we have 
only recently begun in earnest the constructive work 
of rural life betterment. 

vjndividual Interests and Community Interests. For com- 
munity purposes, the activities and interests of the in- 
dividuals composing such a community will be only in- 
cidental to the activities and interests of the community 
as a whole. Yet it will be apparent that certain of the 
individual interests are also of common interest to the 
whole group, and the aggregate of these common inter- 
ests constitutes the principal field of the community 
center. To illustrate : The primary interests of Farmer 
Jones are (1) that he shall get the best possible yield 
from his farm and (2) that he shall receive the highest 
possible price for his farm products. These are individual 
or family interests. Yet the whole community is interested 
in the success of Farmer Jones in attaining these ends ; 
for his prosperity and that of every other farmer of the 
group determines the general prosperity of the community. 
Reasoning from that point of view, we may conclude, 
therefore, that whatsoever the community can do towards 
the improvement of farming conditions in that community 
may properly become of interest to the whole group. It 
is fair to assume, also, that such deepened community 
interest in improving farming conditions will arouse a 
consequent desire on the part of the group for the im- 
provement of schools, roads, health conditions, moral 
surroundings, social and recreation facilities. Such special 
features of farming conditions may become enterprises 
which the whole community will strive to promote for 
mutual benefit. And it is for the promotion of such 

The Community Center Idea 45 

enterprises that the community center has its chief sig- 

In proportion to any lack of common interests to be 
found in a given rural community will usually be noted 
a lack of individual interests; not so much perhaps in 
the immediate business affairs of the individuals as in 
the institutions and in the general tone of the community. 
Where it is found that a rural community has apparently 
lost interest in agriculture and in the improvement of 
rural conditions, it may be difficult to determine whether 
this changed situation has come about as a result of loss 
of interest in farming as a business or in what may be 
termed the accessories of farming; that is, in the rural 
institutions and in country life in general. In either 
case, there is opportunity in the community center to 
renew the faith of the people in country living. Whether 
the point of attack shall be in improved methods of agri- 
culture or in improved rural conditions centering around 
agriculture, will usually depend upon the prime inter- 
ests of the people at the moment. An attack from either 
angle of the situation will result in substantially the same 
achievements; namely, the general improvement of liv- 
ing conditions in a given community. 

Common Interests and Improved Living Conditions. 
As has been pointed out above, there are indications 
that the tide of rural migration may already have reached 
the turning point; that there is now an increasing 
tendency in rural populations towards greater stability, 
with a correspondingly greater interest in rural life and 
rural institutions. Instead of going to the city to secure 
better educational advantages for his children, or for 
recreation, entertainment, or religious worship, the 
average farmer is, we believe, becoming more and more 

46 The Community Center 

inclined to join his fellows in providing all of these ad- 
vantages in his own neighborhood. At the same time 
the farmers are pursuing improved methods of agricul- 
ture, which in itself furnishes them with stronger motives 
for remaining on their farms and providing better facili- 
ties of country living. Good roads mean increased op- 
portunities for marketing the farm products and for 
travel. The consolidated elementary school is designed 
to provide the country boy better educational training 
than he could get in the city elementary school. Of 
very great significance is the rapid growth of the rural 
high school movement at the present time. The courses 
of study in these high schools are intended to be so ar- 
ranged that the pupils may get what they most need. 
If they intend to be farmers, they may pursue those 
studies which will give them the maximum of general 
culture that is consistent with their chief purpose of pre- 
paring to be good farmers. If they are looking towards 
a profession and the necessary college or university train- 
ing, then they may select their programs of study with 
such aims in view. Our imaginations fairly soar in 
contemplation of the time when a considerable majority 
of the rural populations will have had such an educa- 
tional training as the rural high school is designed to 
offer the boys and girls who expect to remain on the 

As the rural populations become more and more inter- 
ested in the opportunities that the country offers for a 
livelihood, largely by means of such improved condi- 
tions as we have just indicated, they will develop greater 
interest also in the church, in facilities for greater social 
and recreational enjoyment, and in all things else that 
pertain to country-life improvement. If it is possible 

The Community Center Idea 47 

for the country people to prosper, to enjoy their leisure, 
to educate their children, and to develop permanent 
community interests and associations, then the city will 
no longer possess its old-time charms for them. Whether 
economic prosperity shall come first, or whether a more 
wholesome social life shall precede as a means of attain- 
ing to greater prosperity, is more or less immaterial, 
since in any case these two conditions must supplement 
each other in the general process of bringing about a better 
status of country living. It is one of the aims of this 
volume to point out some ways of assisting country 
people, by working through the community center, to 
find both better social life and greater prosperity, to the 
end that the country may become a more desirable place 
to live while maintaining a livelihood. 


The Community Center a Real Need. The revival 
of the community center idea has the appearance of 
being the spontaneous response of a large number of 
leaders to strong community needs, each leader, or group 
of leaders, trying in his own way to meet the changed 
social, moral, and economic conditions which have come 
upon us, both urban and rural alike. We have had a deal 
of experience with the community center, but much of 
this experience has not been available as suggestive of 
what our aim should be or of the best ways of attaining 
to such aims as we have. 

Mr. John Hogan, Jr., has described the situation in 
this way : 

In spite of the enormous extent of community center work 
throughout the United States, there is among us a grave lack of 

48 The Community Center 

coordination. We have centers here and there and everywhere, 
all attempting to solve the same problems, most of them making the 
same mistakes, but some finally achieving successful solution. Now, 
if it were possible to make available to all centers everywhere the 
work which any one of us had completed successfully, or the method 
by which we overcame our difficulties, then the rest of us would be 
saved the labor and hopelessness of a struggle in vain, and we could 
be put at once on the right track. If only that much could be done, 
the successful efforts of all of us would have much more far-reaching 

We do not assume that Mr. Hogan would have all of 
us do the same things in exactly the same ways. Local 
conditions vary greatly in different communities, and our 
efforts must be adjusted, in so far as may be, to these 
local conditions. We can, however, note what projects 
have been successfully carried out, the results obtained, 
the methods employed, together with some general sug- 
gestions, and then let each individual, or group of in- 
dividuals, make of this body of material what he may. 
That much, if well done would be a long step towards 
making effective the activities of the community center. 
y How Some Leaders Have Tried to Meet Such Need. 
/That the community center movement is a response of 
leaders to strongly felt social needs and that its activi- 
ties are necessarily guided by local social, political, and 
economic conditions are both borne out by the notable 
example of the " social center " in Rochester, New York, 
j nmder the leadership of Mr. Edward J. Ward, sometime 
1 director of the recreation facilities of that city. The 
j conditions which obtained there evidently impressed 
I Mr. Ward with the idea that he could accomplish most 
I of his assigned duties by having the people meet at the 
\ public schoolhouse to discuss the political and social 
policies of the city. Later, he and his co-workers sue- 

The Community Center Idea 49 

ceeded in having the public schoolhouses used also as 
voting places in elections. Mr. Ward records the achieve- 
ments of the social centers in Rochester in a most help- 
ful and suggestive book.^ 

In Boston and in other New England cities Mr. War- 
ren Dunham Foster has done very notable work with 
the community center by conceiving recreation as the 
basal factor in the community center movement and by 
correlating about recreation all the other phases of this 
general movement. Others have approached the same 
general problem and achieved the same general results 
through the activities of the Boy Scouts, the Camp Fire 
Girls, the Y. M. C. A., the Y. W. C. A., the Grange, the 
church, the Chautauqua, the " spelling bee," the school 
*' literary," the drama, evening schools, agricultural 
demonstrations, etc. 

In every case we should bear in mind, first, that our 
ultimate aim is community building in the broadest 
sense of that phrase; and secondly, that in attaining 
to that goal, we shall have to begin with the previous 
experiences of the people with whom we are associated 
at the moment) 

Is the Community Center a Meeting Place ? As a matter 
of convenience, every community should have a meet- 
ing place, where the people may come together at any 
convenient time and feel at home. And for certain 
kinds of community activities such a place is absolutely 
necessary. /Usually the logical place for such as- 
semblies, partitrularly in rural communities, is the school- 
house, although in many communities the church, the 
grange \hall, or some other place will be found more con- 
venient) Within the past few years many states have 
1 The Social Center, D. Appleton & Company 

50 The Community Center 

waged campaigns to secure the legal privilege of hold- 
ing public meetings at the schoolhouse, more especially 
as voting places. This propaganda has the active sup- 
port of President Wilson and of many other men and 
wojnen of national prominence. 

/The schoolhouse is found to be the logical place for 
coTnmunity meetings in most rural communities for the 
following reasons: (1) In many rural communities no 
other meeting place is available; (2) the schoolhouse 
is public property, which is idle more than half the time, 
and its use for this purpose is, therefore, an extra divi- 
dend upon the people's investment; (3) the public 
schoolhouse is everywhere free from sectarian and po- 
litical feelings of any sort; and (4) the average rural 
community cannot afford to provide a hall or lease a 
room for such purpose, even if this were necessary. 

Perhaps the chief disadvantage of the schoolhouse 
as a meeting place for the community center is the fact 
that the average rural schoolhouse is not constructed 
and not equipped for such purposes^ Usually the seats 
are nailed to the floor and, as they have been selected 
and placed with reference only to the convenience of the 
children, adults find it almost impossible to occupy them. 
Manufacturers of school furniture now manufacture 
also removable desks, which can easily be arranged for 
community center meetings. In a great many places 
the schools are fitted up with kitchens for teaching do- 
mestic arts; these may be used also for the purpose of 
serving refreshments upon proper occasions. As the 
community center work progresses, we may reasonably 
expect that greater care will be taken to construct and 
equip the schoolhouse with a view to accommodating 
the people when assembled there. 

The Community Center Idea 51 

A Function of the Community Center. The school- 
house will serve as a community meeting place for all 
ordinary occasions, such as entertainments, public dis- 
cussions, voting, literary programs, and " sociables." 
But the community center, like a court, a seat of govern- 
ment, or an army headquarters, may be temporarily at 
any other place in the community, or even outside the 
community. (Wherever the people or a representative 
group of them come together for a specific and common 
purpose, there is a meeting of the community centeK Ex- 
amples of such other occasions are the community pic- 
nic, the agricultural fair, the farm demonstration, the 
xathletic contest, a popular wedding, a public reception, 
^^herefore, we may say that any community activity in 
which all or a group of the people are interested may 
be regarded as a function of the ccmimunity center, 
whether at the schoolhouse or elsewheim. 

This classification purposely makes prominent the 
community cooperative idea and subordinates every- 
thing else to this idea. For after all, the community 
center is the working together of a group of people who 
have common interest in a definite purpose, ^s Mr. 
Warren Dunham Foster puts it, " The community center 
is an idea, not a place. 7 

Is the Community Center an Organization ? We are 
accustomed to think of the community center in terms 
of organization — president, vice president, secretary, 
treasurer, committees, constitution, by-laws, etc. The 
tendency of this work has probably been towards over- 
organization to the extent that the organization is in 
danger of getting in the way of real progress and effective 
work. The community center is not necessarily an or- 
ganization at all ; yet in most communities a mild form 

62 The Community Center 

of organization may be most effective. Whether an 
organization should at first be effected, and what kind 
of organization should be attempted, depend very largely 
upon the previous experiences of the group or community 
concerned. If they have been accustomed to work 
under organization, then perhaps one were best even 
frc^ the first, but usually the less formal the better. 

[The results of the community center work are meas- 
xired by the degree of responsiveness which comes from 
the people themselves. Let the people first get the habit 
of coming together informally, and they will soon begin 
to devise their own ways and means of doing things. 
There may spring up a number of organizations at the 
community center, the latter becoming the composite 
of these several organizations. And if allowed to work 
out their organizations according to the several group 
interests, each will feel the joy of having a part in achiev- 
ing whatever good results may follow. Let the teacher 
assume the leadership at first, and succeeding events 
will in all probability point the way to the best method 
of organization./ 

The writer emphasizes this point because he believes 
that the plan just suggested will prove to be best for the 
success of the community center work in general, and 
more particularly because he believes that the plan will 
result in most cases in developing leaders from the people 
themselves. Having in mind the first meeting, let us 
suppose that the community is assembled — "for or- 
ganization " as it is frequently put. Some one says, 
" Whom shall we have for president? " Somebody 
else is likely to nominate a person with no special quali- 
fications for such responsibility. The mere nomina- 
tion is likely to mean the election — whether a prominent 

The Community Center Idea 53 

citizen or a wag makes little difference so far as the popu- 
lar vote is concerned. Once there is such an election, 
the choice is pretty sure to stand for that year ; and if a 
poor choice is made, the hands of the community are 
completely tied by the blundering inactivity and in- 
efficiency of the chosen leader, who in reality may not be 
a leader at all. By the end of the first year, if not several 
months sooner, the community center is dead and buried. 
There is no surer way of killing such an undertaking than 
by failing to secure from the very first the most com- 
petent leader, or leaders, to be found in the community. 
For these reasons the teacher will do well to disregard 
formal organization, at first anyway, and assume the 
leadership himself. The experiences of a few. weeks will 
reveal to him whether organization should have promi- 
nence in the community center. > 

Summary and Definitions, frhe community center, 
then, is not a place nor an organization, two terms often 
so closely associated with it as to be loosely thought of 
as the thing itself. The people of a community or neighbor- 
hood acting together in projects of common interest to the 
whole community, or to a considerable group of the individuals 
composing such community, whether these projects be for 
social enjoyment, entertainment, intellectual stimulus, patri- 
otic demonstration, or for constructive plans of economic, 
civic, social, or moral improvement, tend to satisfy the purposes 
of the community center^ There can be no doubt that the 
community center meets a real social need in country com- 
munities. It can be made to touch the lives and the 
activities of a. community in many ways, which vary 
according to local conditions. Yet it is difficult to say 
just what it is, because its full possibilities have not yet 
been discovered. The late Dr. Luther H. Gulick de- 

54 The Community Center 

fined the community center in a rather idealistic way as 
follows ; 

The community center does not exist to improve people, although 
it undoubtedly does this. It does not exist to make them more 
healthy, though it may accomplish this also. It exists that life 
may flower more fully. Life, when applied to human beings, means 
social life. Business exists to furnish living; social life exists to 
develop friendships. Therefore, that community center is most 
successful which brings people together in such a way that social 
life, friendship, comradeship, brotherly love is most fully developed. 

The main question is not so much. What do you do at the center? 
as, Whom are you with? Casual conversation with the right people 
may be of greater significance than any course of improving study. 

The opportunity of the center is that it may bring kindred hearts 
together, who, under the stimulus that each furnishes, shall bring 
out the finest undiscovered talent and beauty, and intensify life 
in its inmost shrine — that of personality. 

Mr. John Collier defines the community center in this 

Twenty-five years ago Eugene Haberman, just graduated from 
Pennsylvania University, went hunting geological specimens. At 
Highlands, North Carolina, then forty miles from any railroad, he 
suddenly felt a passion for that most vague and most real thing 
known to men, which we call Home. He settled. He located an 
experimental school, where for ten years he worked as an unknown 
forerunner of Professor John Dewey. It was a pay school, though 
Haberman did most of the paying, and he ran a country printing- 
press for a living. He built on the doctrine of interest, of group 
efifort and self-building through communal work. He exploited the 
local environment. I first met Haberman, an elderly man now, 
among his pupils who had grown to be men. He was leading a dis- 
cussion of national economic policies from where he sat on a cracker 
box in the general store of Highlands. That store was a community 
center, and Haberman's school was a community center. 

Forty miles west from Haberman's country, a North Carolina 
school teacher said, "Let us sing." They sang from the old square 
notes, antiquated seventy years ago. This is the hilly country. 

The Community Center Idea 55 

Spurs of the Great Smoky Mountains divide cove from cove, settle- 
ment from settlement, family from family. I must be brief — They 
sing all over three counties. They sing from funeral to funeral, 
from wedding to wedding. They sing at invalids' beds. They sing 
at singing conventions which last for days ; camp meetings they are, 
but the purpose is community singing by competing groups. Neither 
church nor state has promoted this movement. It has no literature, 
no officers, no budget, no building. But in the three years past the 
singing impulse — organized singing — has penetrated all the valleys 
of this lonely and somber mountain land. It makes me think — 
this music movement which hasn't even a name — of the roseate or 
golden mists that one sees at dawn there, linking cove with cove and 
intimating' a glory yet to be. 
This is a community center. 

Let us close the chapter by allowing Miss Agnes Moore, 
teacher at Rocky Point, North Carolina, for the year 
1916-1917, to tell how she expressed the community 
center idea : 

We have our Woman's Betterment Association, which has done 
more for our school than any other factor. Our men are also mem- 
bers. Early in the fall we had an old-fashioned "corn husking" 
and "candy pulling," to which old and young came. We have a 
Sewing Club which meets at the schoolhouse every two weeks. This 
is alternated by cooking lessons. Both the Farmers' Alliance and 
Union hold monthly meetings here. On Saturday before school 
opened, the. parents, teachers, and pupils met and cleaned up the 
schoolhouse and grounds and afterwards enjoyed a good picnic dinner 
together. All enjoyed a community Christmas tree before the 
Christmas holidays began. Then came Community Service, Bird, 
and Arbor Day. We had about one hundred workers present. We 
again accomplished much needed work and got a little closer to- 
gether. Next came Washington's Birthday celebration, in con- 
nection with a Valentine Party. Our Farmers' Institute was one of 
the best ever held here. We have also given two plays which were 
well attended. On the first of February we organized the Athletic 
Club. We have a school library of about two hundred and fifty 
volumes. We have also had two traveling libraries this year. The 

66 The Community Center 

community has free access to both. We have a literary society in 
our school. Our pupils won forty premiums at our county fair. 


1. Make a map of a community which you know, or of the one 
in which you teach. Let your map be a picture of the community, 
showing the roads, streams, and hills, the location of the school, 
churches, and homes, and other relevant features. 

2. Is the school the natural center of this community: (a) from 
the topographical standpoint? (h) from the social standpoint? 
Give reasons for your answers. 

3. Study the habits of the people of this community : (a) Is the 
community a well-defined neighborhood? (6) For what reasons do 
the people go to other communities, or to larger centers? (c) If you 
should make your school a community center, would you thereby 
change the social habits of the people? (d) Would the school as a 
community center satisfy the social needs of the people? 

4. Take the same community or another community which you 
know, and make a map showing the location of the homes ten years 
ago and of the homes to-day. If any families have moved away from 
the community in the past ten years, find out, if possible : (a) where 
they have gone; (6) why they left the community; (c) what 
success they have had in their new habitat; (d) what effect their 
moving away has had on the community ; i.e. whether other families 
have moved into the community to take their places, and whether 
the community gained or lost by the emigration of these families, 
considered from social, moral, and economic standpoints. 

5. Outline a program covering a period of five years that you 
would follow in leading the people of the community studied under 
exercise 1 to renew their faith in the farm and in country life. 


For a good many years we have stressed the importance 
of training children for the vocations. Recently we have 
come to recognize the fact that both for the welfare of 
the individual and for the good of society it is important 
also to train children for the enjoyment of their leisure 
during their more mature years. Dr. W. C. Ruediger has 
stated this phase of the problem clearly : ^ 

The idea is beginning to prevail more and more that education 
should function not only in the home, in citizenship, in industry, and 
in business, but that it should function also in those activities that 
the people pursue for the purpose of enjoyment. This is manifesting 
itself in the relatively frequent discussion of such topics as education 
for leisure, education for play, and education for recreation. It is 
asserted that the needs and the opportunities for recreation have 
changed with the developments in other phases of life, that their needs 
can no longer be adequately met on an instructive and untutored 
plane, and that, therefore, the school should make equipment for the 
pursuits of leisure one of its specific aims. 

The Demand Grows Out of Changed Economic and 
Social Conditions. This new demand upon the school 
is to a very large extent an outgrowth of changing social 
conditions, particularly those conditions surrounding 
labor. When the laborer toiled from twelve to sixteen 

1 See chapter on "Avocational Guidance" in The Modern High 
Schoolf by Charles H. Johnston and others. 


58 The Community Center 

hours a day, he had almost no leisure. The little time 
he had off duty was spent mainly in eating and in sleep. 
Now the working day allows the worker several hours 
for the enjoyment of leisure. The manner of spending 
this leisure time is a matter of great importance both 
to the worker himself and to society. For the old adage, 
" An idle brain is the devil's workshop," has great sig- 
nificance to the general welfare of society. A great many 
business enterprises have shown their appreciation of 
this fact by providing at the corporation's expense bath- 
ing facilities, billiard tables, bowling alleys, baseball 
diamonds, motion picture theaters, and other forms of 
recreation and amusement for their employees. 

The Farmer Has More Leisure But Fewer Oppor- 
tunities to Enjoy It. In the country districts it will be 
found that the people have even more leisure at certain 
seasons of the year than those who live in the industrial 
centers, but that, speaking generally, they have fewer 
opportunities for its enjoyment. Most farmers are very 
busy during the crop seasons, but they are usually less 
busy during the winter months. In Denmark and some 
other foreign countries these winter months are utilized 
by the farmers in attending continuation schools of 
agriculture. In the United States, however, we have 
not yet gone so far in this movement, although some of 
our agricultural colleges and departments of agriculture 
in our state universities offer short courses in agriculture 
and related subjects in the winter months. In many rural 
commimities the people do not read a great deal, mainly 
because they have very little reading matter available. 
History, fiction, literatm'e, and economics may not in- 
terest some of them, largely because their training in 
the schools and their subsequent experiences in life have 

The Enjoyment of Leisure 59 

not been such as to arouse their interest in these subjects. 
The same is true in respect to their interest in music, 
art, nature, and the sciences. Therefore, since proper 
forms of amusement are not always easily available and 
since these people have not all been trained in convenient 
forms of amusement, their lives are necessarily somewhat 
monotonous and oftentimes devoid of the means of 
gratifying the higher sentiments, feelings, and emotions. 
About the only means of social intercourse that many 
rural communities have may be summarized briefly as 
follows : an occasional entertainment at the schoolhouse, 
an occasional party or dance, and the associations of 
men about the country stores and blacksmith shop. 
Farm women have, as a rule, less leisure than men, and 
generally fewer opportunities to enjoy that which they 

Dangers of Leisure without Opportunities to Enjoy It. 
The situation which has just been described may be a 
matter of grave consequence to our national welfare. 
Mr. Harold W. Foght offers the following comment : 

Systematic labor must always react in organized recreation. That 
is to say, whenever the human being is tied down to hours of self- 
repression, his body craves a certain amount of relaxation to be 
sought in play or amusement of some sort. If this is wisely provided, 
all goes well ; if ignored as unnecessary and wasteful, the person af- 
fected will be sure to seek relief or an outlet for his pent-up desires 
in questionable ways and places. 

The same idea is expressed by Dr. Eugene Lyman 

A large part of our moral derelictions is due to an unbalanced life 
from which amusements are largely omitted. The "bad boy" in 
the city streets is usually following his instinct for amusement, of 
which the lack of playgrounds has deprived him. Dissipation of 

60 The Community Center 

many kinds is explained in a similar way. It is largely because 
workmen are so often drudges and lack normal recreations that they 
seek amusement in the concentrated form they find in gambling 
places, dives, and dance halls. 

The Vocational Ideal versus the Cultural Ideal. In 
a democratic society such as ours neither all-cultural 
nor all-vocational training will meet the new demands 
put upon the schools. Excepting the few idle rich, all 
will work. Our problem is, therefore, a twofold one: 
first, to find that golden mean between the strictly voca- 
tional ideal and the purely cultural ideal; and, second, 
to train the children while in school in the best ways of 
enjoying their leisure through the working period of their 
lives. To this end the school must anticipate the adult 
experiences of the children and project its activities into 
these experiences. For, we must remember, the dangers 
which lurk in the pathways of children lie mainly beyond 
the common school age. Later, they will be thrown upon 
their own resources in a society which will pay little 
attention to them as individuals unless they happen to 
violate its code, or to become either famous or notorious. 
The efficiency both of the home and of the school will be 
tested by the preparation which the children have had 
for taking their places in that society and finding in it the 
means of living honorable, happy, and useful lives. 


The Arousing of Personal Interests. The first con- 
sideration in training for the enjoyment of leisure is the 
arousing of personal interests that will be carried over 
from the school days into the active pursuits of life. The 
mere completion of the usual course of study in the usual 

The Enjojrment of Leisure 61 

way has been found not very productive in arousing such 
personal interests. In spite of all that has been said and 
done in the way of professional training of teachers, the 
class work as it is usually conducted does not arouse such 
an interest in literature, science, and nature as will hold 
the pupil's attention after he leaves school. This, of 
course, is mainly a problem of pedagogy and need not be 
discussed at length in this connection. Suffice it to say, 
therefore, that more conscious effort must be made by 
the teachers in arousing personal interests that will endure, 
if we would enable the pupil to enjoy his future leisure. 

Personal Interest in Current Affairs. Of first impor- 
tance, perhaps, is a personal interest in current affairs. 
Some time ago the writer entered a schoolroom in the 
country, having with him a morning paper. He listened 
to a sixth grade class reading. He was pleased with 
their reading of the lesson in the book. After the class 
exercise, he handed one of the pupils the morning paper 
and asked him to read a paragraph relative to the World 
War. To the writer's surprise, the pupil could scarcely 
read the paragraph. He failed in correctly pronounc- 
ing the words and in getting the meaning of the news 
item. The paper was then passed to other members 
of the class with similar results. Upon questioning 
the class, it was found that they had not been following 
even the chief events of the war and that they knew 
very little about it. They had a very hazy idea of the 
geography involved, although they were studying at 
the time both history and geography. When they were 
asked, for example, with what countries the United States 
was at war, they gave the following : Germany, France, 
England, Japan, British, Turkey, Spain. These children 
had a vague idea that somewhere in the world a war was 

62 The Community Center 

in progress and that the United States had some part 
in it. On visiting other schools since then, the writer 
has confirmed his opinion that many rural school children, 
even in the upper grades, do not read newspapers or 
magazines to any great extent, or if they do, with but 
faint understanding. Yet through such reading, the 
teacher has one of the very best opportunities to arouse 
a personal interest that will abide with the children 
through life. 

Personal Interest in Magazines. One step further 
in the promotion of personal interest in current affairs 
is gained by a study of the subject matter of our best 
magazines. These open up the whole field of politics, 
current literature, social problems, human welfare, 
science, fiction, as well as a more elaborate .treatment 
of important national and world events. The magazine 
is a sort of symposium of current human life and thought 
that introduces the youth to the world of to-day and 
creates within him interests which he may care to pursue 
through his whole life. A careful reading of a half dozen 
of our best magazines enables one to discuss intelligently 
the affairs that grip the attention of his contemporaries 
throughout the world. We are convinced that a personal 
interest of this sort would help somewhat in keeping 
many a boy and man contented on the farm. 

Personal Interest in Books. Reading magazines leads 
directly to a permanent personal interest in current 
fiction. If one's interest has been aroused in social, 
economic, and historical problems, he will be inclined also 
to read books of more serious thought on these problems. 
His reading may also develop an interest in highly special- 
ized technical reading matter. His personal bent and 
his aptitude of mind will, of course, determine both the 

The Enjoyment of Leisure 63 

kind and the extent of such interests. If the teacher 
can do nothing more towards training for the enjoyment 
of leisure than to open up to the children the avenues 
leading to several fields of reading material, he will have 
accomplished a great deal; for once a child's interests 
are aroused to this extent, he will of his own accord dis- 
cover the kind of reading matter that best fits his personal 

Personal Interest in the Drama and in Music and Art. 
To arouse the interest of pupils in the drama or in music 
or art may be a more difficult task than in the case of 
reading, for the reason that the teacher may have neither 
the materials nor the facilities at hand for this purpose. 
Still, he has some opportunities within his reach. It is 
possible, for example, to raise by public entertainments 
or by public subscriptions sufficient money to purchase 
a few good reproductions of works of art, which the chil- 
dren may learn to appreciate through the personal 
instruction of the teacher and from manuals of art. If 
just enough appreciation can be aroused to create in the 
children a desire to see and to learn more, they will find 
later a way to satisfy that desire. By means of the 
victrola, public concerts, etc., they may likewise develop 
a taste for good music that will lead them on to its further 
enjoyment. The motion picture machine, which is now 
finding its way into some rural districts, is capable of 
giving to the children and to their parents some of the 
best in drama. Furthermore, the study of a few dramas 
in class and the amateur performance of the easier ones 
by the children themselves may create in them a desire 
for the best in dramatization. The great difficulty 
with adults is that so many of us do not know what is 
within our reach. We may be in a city where a great 

64 The Community Center 

masterpiece of art is being exhibited, where a noted musi- 
cian is appearing, or where a great play is being produced, 
without realizing the significance of such opportunity. 
That is because our personal interests in these things 
have never been aroused. Just enough knowledge of 
these fine treasures to arouse the interest and to cause us 
to anticipate the significance of such opportunities may 
put us in the way of enjoying some of the best things 
in the world. 

To this end we may learn much from what some of 
the European countries have accomplished. In Copen- 
hagen there is a society which each year organizes excur- 
sions among country children for the purpose of taking 
them to the city. The railroads join in this movement 
by granting nominal rates to the excursionists. At such 
times the national theater makes special efforts to produce 
the most appropriate plays for the children and admits 
them at nominal rates. They are guided through the 
art galleries, the museums, and the various other places 
of interest in the city. An excursion of this kind may be 
the means of brightening the life of the child, and the 
feeling that he has already seen and to some extent ex- 
perienced the best that the city affords may neutralize 
somewhat any craving that he may have to live in the 

Personal Interest in Nature. The rural school has 
special advantages for training children in the enjoyment 
of nature. Such training can be done best through instruc- 
tion in elementary science. Unfortunately, a great deal 
of our work in the elementary sciences is so very bookish 
and so hopelessly formal that it has become merely so 
much work to be done for a passing mark. In this 
country, nature study has, however, accomplished some- 

The Enjojrment of Leisure 65 

thing in helping children to appreciate the beauties and 
the physical phenomena of their immediate surroundings. 
Dr. L. H. Bailey once remarked, " The happiness of the 
ignorant man is largely of physical pleasures; that of 
the educated man is of intellectual pleasures." The 
opportunity of the school is that of arousing in the chil- 
dren a personal interest in objects of beauty and value 
about them, so that they may leave school capable of 
enjoying more and more of the beauties and the secrets 
of nature. 

Personal Interest in Avocations. One duty of the 
school is to help everybody to have a hobby, in the sense 
of an avocation, as a means of enjoying his leisure. One 
may enjoy his leisure by mere diversions. If he lives 
in the city, he may go to a baseball game to-day, to a 
motion picture show to-morrow, and to something else 
next day; or if he lives in the country, he may spend 
his only day off in the week at the country store or black- 
smith shop, or he may go hunting or fishing. Such 
activities may be valuable as pastimes, but they do not 
result from any plan or systematic purpose. The person 
who enjoys his leisure in such ways does just what oppor- 
tunity affords him or his fancy prompts. For such diver- 
sions no special training is necessary. A higher degree 
of enjoyment is found in the activities which one pursues 
for the sake of culture. Reading newspapers, magazines, 
and books, visiting art galleries or museums, enjoying 
the beauties of nature, etc., have a cultural value, and 
at the same time they provide a means of the highest 
personal enjoyment. 

If the pursuit of any of the pleasures just enumerated 
goes far enough to result in constructive thinking and 
expression, then we reach the plane of pursuing an avoca- 

66 The Community Center 

tion for the enjoyment of leisure. The teacher may 
find many opportunities for encouraging and directing 
children in avocational pursuits. For example, the 
child who shows special talent in music, art, dramatics, 
or science should be encouraged to pursue such study to 
the extent of expression, if not, indeed, of production. 
For we should bear in mind that we have before us the 
task of developing a rural civilization that will really 
and truly express the thoughts, the feelings, the lives, 
and the institutions of rural people living under rural 
conditions; that city ideals, city institutions, and city 
culture will never be successfully transplanted into the 
country; and that rural ideals, institutions, and culture 
must eventually spring from among the country people 
themselves. Here, then, we certainly find a rich field for 
avocational training. 

Pursuant to this lead in creative work come oppor- 
tunities for leadership in the church, in the Sunday School, 
in politics, and in various kinds of social service, training 
for all of which may at least be well begun in the schools. 

Within the range of possibility also are opportunities 
for training young farmers to specialize along lines con- 
nected with general farming, poultry raising, horse, cattle, 
and pig breeding, the growing of fancy vegetables, the 
producing of rare and beautiful flowers. Such avoca- 
tions may be the outgrowth of the agricultural club work 
being done now in many rural communities. 

It is related that Robert Browning and his wife. Lord 
and Lady Tennyson, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and William 
Rossetti were gathered together one evening in London. 
Tennyson had just published Maud, and Browning the 
two volumes called Men and Women, Each poet was 
invited to read from his new work. Tennyson chanted 

The Enjojmient of Leisure 67 

from Maud, the tears running down his cheeks, and Brown- 
ing then read from Fra Lippo Lippi. Rossetti made a 
pen-and-ink sketch of Tennyson while the latter was 
reading. Here was an instance of a group of people 
whose lives had been trained to the keenest possible 
intellectual enjoyment. At the other extreme, where 
few personal interests have been aroused, we may note 
men and boys loafing about the stores or the railroad 
stations, or sitting around listlessly, uninterested in 
anything, knowing not what to do with themselves. To 
some, riding on a train, or waiting for one, is a bore, while 
to others the time thus spent is an opportunity for read- 
ing, for conversation with friends, or for studying and 
enjoying the country through which they are traveling. 
To some the Sabbath is the longest day in the week, while 
to others it is the most enjoyable. To the young farmer 
who has become interested in some line of study or read- 
ing, the winter months are a time of rest and enjoyment 
after the more strenuous crop seasons, while to another 
the same time may be one of depression, restlessness, and 
discontent with country life. If the rural school can 
devise means of developing in the children some strong 
personal interests which will occupy their leisure time 
then and in the future, it will have done a great deal 
in the solution of the rural life problem. 


What has been said in the foregoing paragraphs of 
this chapter relates mainly to the school's opportunity for 
the training of children and youths in the enjoyment of 
their leisure through the adult period of their lives. It is 
a comparatively new idea in our schemes of education. 

68 The Community Center 

It is suggestive of what most of us grown-ups have missed 
by having lived a bit too early to have enjoyed such rare 
educational advantages. We come now to the consider- 
ation of some things that may be done to alleviate our 
misfortune in this respect. 

The Community Center May Lead in the Enjojrment of 
Leisure. As has already been intimated, rural people 
in some communities are more or less isolated. The 
custom of visiting among the families of a neighborhood 
las disappeared to some extent in many communities, 
'he means once available in rural communities for 
sS<:iial intercourse, such as school literaries, spelling 
bees, etc., have likewise to some extent disappeared. 
As a result of the many changes that have come about in 
rural communities, the people find there too few oppor- 
tunities to enjoy their leisure. Yet experience with the 
rural community center in many states has shown con- 
clusively that it can be made a means of arousing new! 
interests in individuals and of reviving and strength- 
ening other interests that have become dormant. The 
community center, in leading and directing adults to 
an enjoyment of their leisure, may make up to them 
what they lacked in their school davs, thus becoming 
a sort of " social continuation school.''^ 

The Community Center Must Have Permanent Values. 
In so far as the mere enjoyment of leisure is concerned, 
the community center may be regarded as an end in 
itself. In many individual cases such enjoyment may 
go no farther than the social features of the meetings. 
In fact, in many communities where capable leadership 
is wanting, the social feature may be the limitation of 
the community center activities. 

But such commimity centers are sure to die out sooner 

The Enjoyment of Leisure 69 

or later. Upon this point Mr. W. E. Larson, State Super- 
visor of Rural Schools of Wisconsin, has commented as 
follows : 

In all these sodal and civic movements we should realize that 
permanent impro^hients are usually of gradual growth. It is not 
always the spectacular that is the lasting. The work should have 
something of real merit in connection with it. The people should 
feel as they are meeting together that they are getting something 
that is of permanent value to them in their lives. If this movement 
is simply a getting together for the purpose of having a good time, 
it usually falls to pieces after a short period. The social feature 
should receive recognition, but it should not be the only thing to 
consider. For this reason, I think the term "social center" is some- 
times misleading. Some people who have been interested in this 
movement and, in fact, leaders, have taken it for granted that if 
they can simply get the people together and give them a good time, 
that is all that is necessary. Our experience in this state has shown 
that this is a great mistake. In fact, if the people do get interested 
for a short time in a social feature and later the work dies down, 
it is much more difficult to get it started again. 

Growth of the Community Center. 'As the community 
center work progresses, it should be so broadened in its 
scope that it will have something of interest for every 
individual/as well as a community improvement program 
which will interest the community as a whole. \ It should 
embrace such forms of wholesome recreation as are best 
adapted' to the community conditions, including games, 
athletic contests, entertainments, etc. It should awaken 
a healthy interest in current events, resulting in public 
discussions of political, economic, social, and ethical 
questions/ In due time, it should evolve broad construc- 
tive programs of community improvement — improve- 
ments of agriculture, roads, schools, homes, churches, 
social life — each, perhaps, championed and directed 
by appropriate organizations within the community 

70 The Community Center 

center. The number and the scope of these several 
community activities will depend, of course, upon the 
conditions found in a given community, upon the intelli- 
gence and the past experiences of the people, and partic- 
ularly upon the quality of the leadership available. Any 
teacher, however, if he has the courage, can find among 
so many possible community activities a sufficient variety 
to create and to maintain the interest of the people in 
the community center. Let us remember that the people 
will enjoy public discussions and the carrying out of con- 
structive community programs, once they have become 
interested in these activities, fully as much as they will 
enjoy merely social occasions. 


1. In the rural community which you know best, what means 
do the people have of enjoying their leisure? What recent changes 
in social or economical conditions have conspired to make the problem 
of the enjoyment of leisure an intricate factor in the social problem 
of that community? 

2. Contrast the facilities for the enjoyment of leisure in the 
average city with those of the average rural community. Are the 
differences noted to the advantage or the disadvantage of the rural 

3. Enumerate the opportunities the rural teacher has for provid- 
ing means of enjoyment of leisure among farmer folk. To what 
extent has the average rural teacher met these opportunities in the 

4. Is it true that the farmer has more leisure at his disposal than 
the shop worker? 

5. In the community selected under exercise 1, what evil effects 
have you noted as resulting from lack of facilities for the enjoyment 
of leisure ? 

6. To what extent does the average rural school train children 
for the enjoyment of leisure resulting from their "personal interests" 
discussed in the text? 



What is Recreation ? First we should have a common 
understanding of the meaning of the term ''recreation." 
There will be differences of opinion, to be sure. But let 
us agree for our immediate purpose that any activity, 
whether physical or mental^ which affords us harmless 
enjoyment of our leisure, is recreation. In the home we 
may find recreation in conversation, in reading, or in some 
avocation. In the cities we may find recreation outside 
the home at the theater, the movies, the Young Men's 
Christian Association, the club rooms, the lodge halls. 
Some of these forms of recreation are commercial proposi- 
tions — if not for profit, then for self-support. In country 
districts the various forms of recreation outside the home 
are generally provided for recreation's own sake, and at 
small expense. 


Need of Social and Mental Recreation in the Country. 
Our failure to give proper attention to recreation in rural 
communities is perhaps due in part to the general miscon- 
ception that rural folk do not need recreation, vf all 
the people in the world there is no class which needs rec- 
reation more than agricultural workers^ not physical 
exercise, but social and mental recreation./ 

We do not refer to the suburban home where the whole 
faraily may go to the city by the interurban or by auto- 


72 The Community Center 

mobile for their recreation ; nor to the summer homes of 
well-to-do city folk, who go to the country only to rest 
from their social and business activities. We refer more 
especially to those people who live out in the open coun- 
try, far from a railroad, and where the public highways 
are impassable most of the year — to those who live and 
toil in the country. 

During the growing and harvesting seasons the farmers' 
work is never done; but, during the winter months, 
the father and older sons oftentimes find some leisure 
after they have finished the daily chores. The work 
of the mother and older daughters, on the other hand, 
is one unending round throughout the year of cooking, 
dish-washing, sweeping, mending, etc. Now, what op- 
portunity have these people for social and mental recrea- 
tion either to relieve the monotony or to occupy their 
spare time? 

What Rural Surveys Show. Surveys ^ in representa- 
tive communities (area of each community averaging 
fifty-four square miles) in central Illinois record the 
following observations : 

(in making a study of the recreations and amusements in the terri- 
tory covered it was found that in fifty-eight per cent of the communi- 
ties there \^ absolutely nothing in the way of amusement and recre- 
ational life.y To supply this natural demand the young people make 
use of the' Interurban, going to the neighboring cities of Danville, 
Bloomington, Decatur, and Springfield for their play and goodfellow- 
ship, sometimes securing it in ways which are neither helpful nor 
wholesome. In sixty-three per cent of the communities the churches 
provide some social life, mostly for members only. Nearly all of 
these affairs have on them the dollar mark, as though created for 

1 By Rev. Warren H. Wilson, Department of Church and Country 
Life, Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the 
United States 

Recreation 73 

revenue only. Few outsiders attend these functions. In thirty- 
seven per cent of these communities there is not even this small 
provision for the social life of the people provided by the churches. 

In the way of commendable recreation and amusement provided 
by other agencies than the church, fifteen communities have lecture 
courses, with about five numbers each winter. These are promoted 
by business men. Four have Chautauquas in summer, from one to 
two weeks, and eighteen have "picture shows" of a reasonably high 
grade going on throughout the year. In twenty-seven communities 
there are literary clubs of various kinds, all of them confined to women. 
Although all of the communities are in agricultural districts, only 
six have any kind of club or organization which might be called agri- 
cultural. Cooperation or fellowship among farmers seems to be 
confined exclusively to the grain elevators, ten communities having 
farmers' elevators whose shares are owned by the farmers them- 
selves, and to the yearly farmers* institute of one or two days held 
in the country town. 

The grade of public dances is low, usually showing immoral tend- 
encies. A hall is rented by individuals or clubs and everybody in- 
vited to the dance. In some places dancing is kept up all night, and 
often ends in a riot. This is especially true in mining towns, where 
American young people are strongly influenced by the license of an 
alien population. 

In another survey by this board, of three counties 
in northeast Missouri, covering a total area of 1719 
square miles, we find a similar report : 

The recreation facilities in the rural districts are sadly deficient. 
The average township affords a little Sunday baseball at some village, 
an occasional dance at some home or in a hall, three or four picnics 
a summer, two or three ice-cream socials given by the churches, one 
pool room, and one or two school entertainments a year. These 
are the only recreations offered to one hundred and fifty families in 
a given year. The recreations provided by the church, the school, 
and the lodge are provided not for the sake of the community so 
much as for filling their own treasuries. Nowhere throughout the 
country districts is there to be found any organization which con- 
siders itself obligated to offer clean, wholesome recreation for young 
people or old. 

74 The Community Center 

What Rural People Themselves Say. In order to know 
how best to employ the funds made available by the Smith- 
Lever Act, the United States Department of Agriculture 
sent out an inquiry to the wives of fifty-five thousand 
rural crop correspondents. In their replies, the isolation 
of farm women and the lack of opportunities for recrea- 
tion are most prominent. 

One woman writes : 

In all these years I have never had a vacation, never belonged to 
a club or any organization, and have never been to church or to an 
entertainment ; had no time to visit a neighbor — just worked early 
and late, with a snatch for reading between. Do you wonder we 
get lonely and discouraged and are ignorant and uncultured, for our 
city cousins to make fun over, and how we long to get away from the 
farm for good ? 

Another tells an interesting and very significant story : 

I know a lady who was raised on a farm, married, and went to 
town to live. One very cold winter, knowing both she and her babies 
had gone without sufficient food and clothing, I said to her: "Don't 
you think you would stand a better chance of getting a living in the 
country?" "I might," she said, "but I would rather go hungry 
half the time than go back to the farm," and she surely meant it, 
for I know for a fact that she did just about that. Her case is only 
one of thousands. 

Some of these correspondents offer some excellent 
suggestions upon the work of the community center. 
A farmer's wife in Indiana said: 

If the department could help promote a more friendly social 
feeling and encourage the reading of good books, papers, and maga- 
zines, life in the rural sections would be made brighter and the farm 
mother and daughter be made more satisfied. 

One man, doubtless overlooking the possibilities of 
the rural school, offered the following suggestion : 

Recreation 75 

Along the line of improving conditions in the country and thereby- 
making it more pleasant for people living on farms, I would suggest 
that what might be called a "sociable house" be erected, that could 
be of suflEicient capacity to accommodate the residents of a certain 
neighborhood. It would be my idea that the building should be 
built with a view to using it for singing school, lectures, ice-cream 
socials, dances, concerts, and other entertainments of like nature 
which would interest the young people as well as the older ones. 
It would also give them something to look forward to other than 
they are used to now. Church governments, school trustees, and 
grange building managers in most instances have somewhat severe 
ideas of entertainment, and consequently the young people have 
very little latitude in the way of enjoyment. I think you will under- 
stand that a building along this line would be a great benefit to our 
farming community. A playground for the grown-ups is as important 
as for the children. 


Means of Recreation at Hand. These men and women 
of the farms understand both the lack and the need of 
means whereby they and their neighbors may find relaxa- 
tion from their monotonous ways of Uving. ^ey crave 
recreation and social enjoyment. But they fail to under- 
stand that they have all the necessary means of recreation 
— the schoolhouse as a meeting place and the teacher 
as a leader. Again, the responsibility comes back upon 
the teacher. He alone, in most eases, can open the way 
to social enjoyment and recreation. 

A Recreation Program. In his manual of rural recrea- 
tion,i Mr. Warren Dunham Foster outlines a recreation 
program as follows : 

In every case your study of actual conditions should lead to a 
recreation plan that takes into account : 

1. The neighborhood center for the social and intellectual life 
of the community. You must provide opportunity for the club 

^Neighborhood Play, published by the Youth's Companion 

76 The Community Center 

that discusses the serious sides of agriculture and household arts, 
as well as for the boys' debating society and the monthly social. 
Singing societies, neighborhood bands, the clubs that give simple 
plays and entertainments, lectures on interesting and important 
topics — these are well-established aids to community pleasure and 
advancement. Remember that no community center enterprise 
will succeed unless it is something that your neighbors really desire 
and need. A successful community center organization will generally 
make it possible for the educational extension forces of your state 
to cooperate with your community to the best advantage. 

2. Special-day festivals, perhaps with pageantry, upon which the 
whole neighborhood should unite for a good time that is worth while. 

3. Outdoor fun for old and young, such as picnics, camping, nature 
study, and water sport. 

4. Non-commercial clubs in agriculture and household arts that 
will bring young people together and encourage better farming and 
better living. 

5. Cooperation with outside clubs, such as the Boy Scouts, the 
Camp Fire Girls, and the Audubon Society. 

6. Athletics, beginning with the local playground and extending 
to a county system, planned so as to encourage physical fitness and 
good times for all boys and girls rather than the success of a few after 
unlimited competition. 

We have reproduced this program because it suggests' 
both the nature and the scope of the best recreational 
activities with the school as the center. It is only sug- 
gestive, however, and the teacher will have to study his 
community carefully so that he may know how much 
of the program is practicable. The program anticipates, 
for example, a certain minimum of play apparatus for 
the children's recreation; whereas the securing of such 
apparatus may have to be deferred until certain other 
features of the community center program have been 

We are apt to think of recreation in terms of play, 
games, contests, etc. These are only certain forms of 

Recreation 77 

recreation. The debate and the spelling-bee are also 
recreational, having even the value of personal and group 
contests. School entertainments, box-suppers, agricul- 
tural meetings, reading circles, clubs of various kinds, all 
may be made recreational. The people of a community- 
can find recreation even in coming together at the school- 
house to put it in order for the opening of the school. 
Under the leadership of the teacher they will soon dis- 
cover the activities in which they may find the most 
recreational and social enjoyment. 

Chapter X offers some suggestions for providing recre- 
ation by means of several cooperating agencies that may 
be found in one form or another in most rural communi- 
ties. Teachers may obtain bulletins and other documents 
dealing with the various phases of recreation by writing 
to the United States Bureau of Education, requesting 
a bibliography of play and recreation. Some bulletins 
of this sort may be obtained from the Bureau. 


1. Make an inventory of all the facilities for recreation in one or 
two rural communities which you know best. What proportion of 
the people are benefited by such recreation facilities as you enumerate? 

2. Make a list of all the forms of recreation that might be provided 
free or at reasonable expense for the people of the same communities. 

3. Outline in detail the method you would follow if you were a 
teacher in one of these communities, in leading the people to an appre- 
ciation of what you understand to be recreation. 

4. Explain the differences between the terms "rest" and ** recrea- 

5. Prepare a program for recreation in your school community, 
or in another community that you know, indicating what you would 
expect to accomplish in each of five successive years and also the net 
result of your five-year program. 





Social Capital Defined. In the use of the phrase 
" social capital " no reference is made here to the usual 
acceptation of the term " capital/' except in a figurative 
sense. We do not refer to real estate or to personal prop- 
erty or to cash, but rather to that in life which tends to 
make these tangible substances count for most in the 
daily lives of a people; namely, good will, fellowship, 
sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals 
and families who make up a social unit, — the rural 
community, whose logical center in most cases is the 
school. In community building, as in business organiza- 
tion, there must be an accumulation of capital before 
constructive work can be done. In building up a large 
business of modem proportions, there must first be an 
accumulation of capital from a large number of individuals. 
When the financial resources of these several individuals 
have been brought together under effective organization 
and skillful management, they take the form of a busi- 

1 The first two sections of this chapter, with a few minor altera- 
tions, were contributed by the author to the volume entitled New 
Possibilities in Education in The Annals of the American Academy 
of Social and Political Science (1916). They are reproduced in this 
book by special permission of the editor. 


Social Capital — Its Development and Use 79 

ness corporation the purpose of which is to produce an 
article of consumption — steel, copper, bread, clothing ; or 
to provide personal conveniences — transportation, elec- 
tricity, thoroughfares. The people benefit by having 
such products and conveniences available for their daily 
needs, while the capitalists benefit by receiving the profits 
as compensation for their services to society. 

Now we may easily pass from the business corporation 
over to the social corporation, the community, and find 
many points of similarity. The individual is helpless 
socially, if left to himself. Even the association of the 
members of one's own family fails to satisfy that desire 
which every normal individual has of being with his 
fellows, of being a part of a larger group than the family. 
If he comes into contact with his neighbors, there will 
be an accumulation of social capital, which may immedi- 
ately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social 
potentiality sufficient for the substantial improvement of 
life in the whole community. The community as a whole 
will benefit by the cooperation of all its parts, while the 
individual will find in his associations the advantages of 
the help, the sympathy, and the fellowship of his neigh- 
bors. First, then, there must be an accumulation of 
community social capital. Such accumulation may be 
effected by means of public entertainments, picnics, 
and a variety of other community gatherings. When 
the people of a given community have become acquainted 
with one another and have formed a habit of coming 
together occasionally for entertainment, social inter- 
course, and personal enjoyment, then by skillful leader- 
ship this social capital may easily be directed towards the 
general improvement of the comm.unity well-being. 

That there is a great lack of such social capital in some 

80 The Community Center 

rural districts need not be retold in this chapter. Every- 
body who is familiar with rural conditions knows that 
to be true. The important question at this time is: 
How can these conditions be improved ? 


The story which follows is an account of the way a 
West Virginia rural community in a single year actually 
developed social capital and then used this capital in the 
improvement of its recreational, intellectual, moral, and 
economic conditions. The community under discussion 
is a rural district of thirty-three square miles, which 
embraces fifteen school communities. Three of these 
school communities are villages having graded schools; 
the other twelve are rural, having one-teacher schools. 
The total population of the district is 2180, of whom 
771 are of school age, six to twenty-one years. The 
school organization consists of a board of education, a 
district supervisor, and twenty-three teachers. 

This district supervisor, Mr. Lloyd T. Tustin, of Hun- 
dred, West Virginia, was from an adjoining county. 
He came into the district two weeks before the date set 
by the board of education for the opening of the schools. 
He spent these two weeks going about the district, con- 
ferring with the local trustees, getting acquainted with 
the people, and having the schoolhouses put in order for 
the beginning of the school term. On the Saturday before 
the Monday on which the schools were to begin he held 
his first teachers' meeting. The board of education was 
present. At this first meeting definite plans were made for 
the year's work. Among the plans made, the following are 
some that were carried through to successful conclusion. 

Social Capital — Its Development and Use 81 

Community Survey. Each teacher made a survey of 
his school community (a) to determine the physical 
and human resources of the people ; (6) to learn the crop 
yield of the farms ; and (c) to find what children in the 
community were not attending school and the reasons 
therefor. These individual surveys were brought together 
and tabulated as a survey of the whole district. They 
were used to advantage later in acquainting the people 
with the conditions and needs of the schools. 

Community Center Meetings. This survey proved 
to be of incalculable value to the teacher, both in his 
regular school work and in his work for the community 
center. He was able to learn at first hand the home life 
of his pupils and to become acquainted with their parents. 
His work among the homes aroused unusual response in 
the parents, for no other teacher had ever shown so much 
interest in their welfare. When he announced that 
there would be a meeting at the schoolhouse for all the 
citizens, nearly all were interested and most of them came. 
The nature of this fu*st meeting is indicated by the fol- 
lowing program : 

Song, led by the school choir 


Address, by the teacher 

Reading, by a pupil 

Current events, by a pupil 

Essay, by a pupil 

Song, led by the school choir 

Reading, by a pupil 

Vocal solo 

Reading, by a pupil 


Cornet solo, by a citizen 

Social half hour 

82 The Community Centef 

Note that this first program was rendered almost 
wholly by the pupils. The teacher took occasion to speak 
of the work of the school and to show some of the possi- 
bilities of such meetings. The people enjoyed this pro- 
gram and expressed a desire for another meeting soon. 
The next program at this schoolhouse was primarily for 
the older folks. It was entitled " Ye Old Time School 
Days." These older citizens took great delight in relat- 
ing the school experiences of their day, and the children 
were interested listeners. As time went on, the weekly 
community center meeting was becoming more and more 
a feature of the regular community activities — in fact, 
the only cooperative activity of the community. In due 
time, when some social capital had been developed, these 
meetings occasionally took the form of discussions of 
problems of a constructive nature. The people discussed 
such subjects as : 

Should West Virginia have a more effective compulsory attend- 
ance law ? 

Should there be a small tax on oil and gas for the support of 
schools and roads? 

Is it more profitable to grow hogs than to grow cattle in this com- 

Do boys and girls have better opportunities in the city than in 
the country? 

But entertainment and discussion alone will not hold 
the interest of a community indefinitely. A definite 
purpose common to all must become the reason for this 
coming together. Fortunately, the community under dis- 
cussion soon passed through the stages of entertainment 
and discussion to a state of action. The people them- 
selves, under the leadership of their supervisor and teach- 
ers, began to look about them for something which they 
might do towards personal and community improvement. 

Social Capital — Its Development and Use 83 

The social capital developed by means of the community 
center meetings was about to pay dividends. 

Agricultural Fair and School Exhibit. The first big 
meeting of the year was the agricultural fair and school 
exhibit, which brought together the people of the whole 
school district. The local community center meetings 
gave the supervisor and the teachers an opportunity to 
explain the purpose and the plans of this undertaking. 
In October, two months after the opening of the schools, 
this fair and exhibit was held at the most central school- 
house in the district. The people came in large numbers. 
They brought baskets of food and had a community 
" spread." Prizes were awarded for the best products 
of the farm and the kitchen and for the best work exhibited 
by the schools. It was a great day to every one present. 
It was the " pooling " of social capital developed in the 
local community centers, the first meeting of the people 
of the whole district. 

Community History. At each school the pupils of 
the classes in United States and state history wrote a 
history of their local community — who the first settlers 
were and when they came; when the first church was 
built and when any others were built; when and where 
the first schoolhouse was built and what important changes 
had been made in the schools since then ; who had first 
introduced improved live stock, the silo, and farm machin- 
ery, and other items of local historical interest. This 
work had been done under the direction of the teachers. 
When the histories had been prepared, the children of 
each school gave a program entitled " History Evening," 
at which the community history was read by the pupils 
who had written it. This proved to be a very popular 
program^ since many of the citizens or their ancestors 

84 The Community Center 

were personally mentioned. It had a marked effect 
upon the pride of the people in their home community. 
After these programs had been rendered, the several 
histories of the local communities were compiled into a 
history of the whole school district. 

School Attendance. It will be recalled that one object 
of the community survey was to determine what chil- 
dren were not attending the schools. While visiting the 
homes, the teachers were able to interest a good many 
absentees in going to school or to persuade their parents 
to send them. Subsequent visits by the teachers at the 
homes brought most of the children into the schools. 
Then, at the community center meetings, the subject 
of school attendance was discussed from time to time as 
a part of the program. By means of this personal work 
of the teachers in the homes and the discussions at the 
community meetings, the average daily attendance was 
actually increased by fourteen per cent over that of 
the preceding year. This increased attendance was 
accomplished without resort to the courts in a single 
case. The parents came to realize that the schools cost 
them the same whether their children attended them 
or not. They came also to see more clearly than ever 
before what the schools meant to the future welfare of 
their children and to the credit of themselves as fathers 
and mothers. Be it understood also, that these parents 
were not " preached to " about sending their children 
to school. They were led into discussions of school at- 
tendance among themselves and they arrived at their 
own conclusions. 

Evening Classes. While making the community sur- 
veys, the teachers quietly learned also, in such a way as 
not to be embarrassing to any one, the number of adult 

Social Capital — Its Development and Use 85 

illiterates in their communities. From these reports 
it was found that there were forty-five adults in the 
school district who could not read and write. At the 
community center meetings, the supervisor, the teachers, 
and the parents came to the conclusion that, to meet 
the educational needs of the adult population, evening 
classes should be organized for all who would attend 
them. Accordingly, announcement was made at the 
community centers that at certain centers evening classes 
would be offered one night each week in addition to the 
regular community center meetings. These centers for 
evening classes were so selected that the teachers of 
near-by schools could assist the local teacher in this work 
— in effect, a consolidation of schools for evening classes. 
The plan was eminently successful. The English sub- 
jects (reading, writing, spelling), arithmetic, and agri- 
culture constituted the course of study, not the usual 
textbook study, but just the things that the people were 
interested in learning. Nothing was said about illiteracy. 
Any who could not read and write joined the English 
classes and, with individual instruction, began at the 
very beginning. 

The evening classes were community center meetings 
(a) because they brought together three or four neigh- 
borhoods, thus enlarging the circle of acquaintances; 
(6) because the demonstration work in the agricultural 
subjects attracted a great many who would have come 
for no other reason; and (c) because the class exercises 
were accompanied by a social half hour and in some cases 
followed by refreshments provided by the families 

Lecture Course. Closely related to the work of the 
evening classes was a free lecture course. The lectures 

86 The Community Center 

were given at the schoolhouse by the teachers of other 
schools in the district and by citizens of the community 
who had messages for their neighbors. The subjects 
of these lectures dealt with the improvement of agriculture, 
roads, schools, sanitation, morals. These lectures drew 
upon the United States Bureau of Education, the United 
States Department of Agriculture, the State Agricultural 
College, the State Department of Schools, and the Public 
Health Council for information upon their respective 
subjects, and in some instances bulletins containing 
information on these subjects were given to the people 
to be taken home with them. These lectures were in 
reality community center meetings, and no one profited 
more from them than the teachers themselves. 

National Patriotism. The times called for a revival of 
national patriotism among the people. Accordingly, 
the central theme of one of the programs at each com- 
munity center was national patriotism. A little guid- 
ance upon the part of the teachers during this program 
led to placing a flag upon every schoolhouse in the dis- 
trict. The people purchased the flags, cut and hauled 
the flag poles, and observed Flag Day at the schoolhouse 
by raising the flags. This demonstration led later to 
the placing of a small flag in each schoolroom, with the 
result that when " The Star-Spangled Banner " was sung, 
every child leaped to his feet and saluted his country's 
flag — another factor in community improvement. 

School Libraries. Another interesting outgrowth of 
the community center work in this district was the raising 
of two hundred eighty-two dollars for school libraries. 
This amount was raised at suppers, socials, and public 
entertainments. Every school in the district now has a 
small collection of books approved by the state super- 

Social Capital — Its Development and Use 87 

intendent of schools. In addition to the books purchased, 
the teachers secured a large number of free bulletins 
upon agriculture, roads, schools, and other subjects of 
interest to the community. 

School Athletics. As stated in the first paragraph of 
this account, there were in the school district three graded 
and twelve one-teacher schools. The three graded schools 
were made athletic centers, and to each were assigned four 
one-teacher schools. At each of these three centers a 
baseball team was organized, the players being chosen 
from among the pupils of the graded school and its allied 
one-teacher schools. These three athletic centers were 
then organized into a district school baseball league. 
One who did not get information at first hand by observa- 
tion could scarcely conceive the benefits derived from the 
baseball contests. The baseball games were almost 
the only source of outdoor amusement provided the 
people of the district. Rivalry among these three athletic 
centers was keen but wholesome. The activities of the 
baseball league were a strong factor in the development 
of community social capital. A good many boys who 
had not been in school for two or three years now enrolled 
to play baseball. But in his report of these baseball 
contests, the supervisor says : " They (these older boys) 
stayed in school not only to the end of the baseball season ; 
they got a taste of books and have been regular in attend- 
ance to the end of the year. Some who had not been in 
school for over two years won their free school diplomas 
this year and are planning to go to high school next year." 

Good Roads. In two or three places I have made 
mention of roads. The subject of improved roads was 
discussed at each of the community centers. Waste of 
time and money occasioned by the bad condition of the 

88 The Community Center 

roads of that district, together with the cost of improving 
them, was determined at these meetings. The crowning 
event of this notable year's work was the voting of bonds 
in the sum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars to im- 
prove the roads — a very large dividend paid on the social 
capital developed during the year. 


Capital Stock Increased — Extra Dividends. Note 
that the foregoing is a statement of the organization of 
this social corporation and its first year's activities. Just 
as any successful business corporation grows from year 
to year, so did the social corporation of Church District. 

In the second year of its organization, this corporation, 
through its agents, the teachers, made another community 
survey (an invoice), so that all its members might know 
what progress had been made as compared with its social 
standing at the beginning. As a result of this, the com- 
munity meetings at the several school centers were con- 
tinued with increasing interest; a larger and better 
agricultural fair and school exhibit was held; through 
the greater efforts of the teachers and parents the school 
attendance was increased; the evening classes were 
better attended than the year before ; the lecture course 
was continued with improved quality and larger attend- 
ance; the demands of the National Government upon 
the schools for assistance in the Liberty Bond and Red 
Cross drives so aroused national patriotism in the com- 
munity that it made one of the very best records in the 
state ; it led the whole state in the Food Pledge Card 
Campaign; the community raised $516.17 for school 
libraries, adding 2331 volumes; school athletics were 

Social Capital — Its Development and Use 89 

carried forward with added interest; the public roads, 
for the building of which this social corporation had set 
aside $250,000 in bonds, were being built. This social 
corporation also set aside from its earnings such sums as 
were necessary for the repair and painting of buildings, 
for building outhouses and for painting and screening 
them, for boring water wells where needed, for fencing 
school yards, and for the better furnishing and equipping of 
all the schools. For their amusement and recreation a 
moving picture machine was purchased, which provided 
each neighborhood with a moving picture show every 
two weeks. 

Would it be too fanciful to say that this social corpo- 
ration declared the following estimated extra dividends? 

In better teaching 

In school attendance .... 

In better social life 

In service of improved highways 
In increase of salaries of teachers 
Total . 


While the declaration of extra dividends is only esti- 
mated, the narration of what this district community, 
or group of neighborhoods, has achieved is actually true. 
The district was, of course, fortunate in having in the 
district school supervisor a leader of exceptional quali- 
ties. He was able to gain the complete cooperation of 
the teachers under his supervision, and through them 
and through personal contact with the people at the 
community meetings, to enlist the loyalty and the cooper- 
ation of the whole community. The achievements de- 
scribed demonstrate what some of the community center 
possibilities are. 

90 The Community Center 

Better Teaching Results. But the greatest benefit 
derived from these community center activities is the 
one most Hkely to be overlooked, namely, better teaching 
in the schools. Here was a group of rural teachers who 
came together once a month to discuss with their super- 
visor their plans, their successes, and their failures. They 
learned from one another, benefited from one another's 
mistakes or successes. They were able to work as a 
unit, to do team work. Each was ambitious to be as 
good as the best teacher in the district. They had been 
in the homes of their patrons. They had met the patrons 
at the schoolhouse every two weeks and had discussed 
with them the work of the school and the needs of the 
community. All were genuinely interested not only in 
their schools but also in their communities. All this 
while the pupils themselves were active in the community 
center work, thus receiving training for meeting later in 
life situations of a public nature. 


1. Select a community that you know and make a list of its social 

2. Does the social capital of this community pay satisfactory 
dividends in terms of (a) education, (6) recreation, (c) morality, 
(d) general community welfare? 

3. If not, does this community lack the necessary social machinery ; 
or does its social machinery need to be polished, oiled, and directed 
by a skillful engineer — the teacher or other community leader? 

4. Suppose you are going to teach in this community, and that 
on the first Friday night of the term the stockholders of this social 
corporation are going to meet at the schoolhouse to devise ways and 
means of "putting this concern on its feet." Outline a program 
which you as general manager would propose for the consideration 
of these stockholders. 




The School and the Community Have Fallen Apart. 
Perhaps the chief cause of the failure commonly attributed 
to the rural schools is lack of community cooperation. 
Formerly this was not the case. •" The rural school of 
the earlier days," says Professor B. M. Davis,^ " con- 
sidering the needs of almost pioneer conditions, was 
efficient. It was efficient largely because it was closely 
linked with the life of the community in most of its in- 
terests. The men of the community turned out and to- 
gether built the schoolhouse. The teacher was a member 
of the neighborhood group, literally living with them, 
for he generally spent part of the year in each home. 
Young men and women between the ages of sixteen and 
twenty-one attended the school. The weekly literary 
society and frequent ' spelling-bees ' contributed the 
social life of the community with the school as the 
center. . . . 

" Gradually the rural school has lost its hold upon the 
community. One by one the interests which brought 
the people and the school together have ceased. Along 
with these interests has disappeared much educational 

* Agricultural Education 

92 The Community Center 

efficiency. But traditions which grew up with the little 
one-room schoolhouse have persisted/' 

Traditions of the Old School Persist To-day. These 
traditions do persist, and they must be recognized and 
fairly dealt with. We must bear in mind always that 
the one-teacher school which our parents and grand- 
parents attended was sufficient for their schoolboy and 
schoolgirl needs. It is the only school that they know 
very much about. Therefore, when the more progressive 
leaders of a community propose the consolidation of schools 
or some other way of improving this one-teacher school, 
those who have not thought much about its inefficiency 
are likely to oppose such plans. When the teacher 
requests new furniture, more equipment, etc., some of 
the people may fail to understand that such things are 
really needed. Sometimes, when the teacher undertakes 
to teach by modern methods the new subjects that have 
been added to the rural school curriculum, a few people 
honestly believe that he does not know what he is about ; 
that he is wasting his time in trying to teach a lot of use- 
less subjects by " new-fangled " methods. They say 
they want their children taught " the three R's " as these 
subjects were taught to them. In other words, the best 
rural schools have moved ahead, while some of the people 
have stood still in matters educational. That is the 
reason why some normal school graduates go out to 
teach rural schools with great enthusiasm, intending 
to employ all the new methods, but, finding their plans 
stoutly opposed by some of the parents, finally follow the 
lines of least resistance and fall back into the old methods 
of teaching from textbooks alone. 

Under Such Conditions What Shall the Teacher Do? 
The teacher may find some hope in the community center. 

An Aid to Teaching 93 

The reader may have read The Little School Mistress. 
If so, he will remember that the little school mistress 
undertook to teach a country school according to approved 
methods. Some of the parents objected to her " new- 
fangled " notions. One cold morning one of the fathers 
went to the school intending to tell the teacher just what 
he thought of such methods. It will be remembered 
how the teacher met him at the door, found him the 
best seat by the stove, and then, while he was warming 
himself, called his own boy to write his lesson upon the 
blackboard. The father, who had complained that this 
boy did not know his a-b-c's, was fairly dumfounded to 
learn that his son could not only recognize the letters 
but could also write whole sentences upon the blackboard. 
This father left the school convinced that the community 
had the best teacher in the county. 

That teacher had found the key to the solution of one 
of the most difficult problems in teaching. Most farmers 
are " from Missouri." If they have become prejudiced 
against the teacher, nine times out of ten they will, upon 
making his acquaintance, change their minds. If, for 
example, they do not believe the teacher when he reports 
the need of better school furniture, they are likely to be 
convinced if they can be induced to sit in one of the 
dilapidated seats. Or, if the blackboard is merely a 
painted wall, let the teacher contrive to get them to use 
it. Such experiences will usually help them to recognize 
the school's needs. If the community needs a new 
schoolhouse, the best way to convince the doubters is 
to get them to make a personal examination of the build- 
ing that shelters their children. If the consolidation of 
schools is proposed, let the people get together at one of 
the schoolhouses and discuss the proposition; they may 

94 The Community Center 

decide against the proposal for the present, but it is a safe 
bet that such consolidation would not be effected in most 
communities until the people did get together. 

The Teacher and the Commimity Must Get Together. 
All of which means simply that when it comes to break- 
ing down the prejudices and misconceptions which some 
of the people in almost any community have about the 
teacher's work, about the physical conditions of the 
school, and about worthy progressive programs of any 
kind, they must first come together so that it may be 
made clear to them what is proposed to be done and also 
what steps need to be taken to improve the school. 
For we must remember that some of these people have 
been so isolated from one another, from the school, and 
from the developments in education, that they are out of 
touch with modem educational practices. They are 
thinking all the time of the school which they attended. 
Once they become acquainted with one another and begin 
to cooperate with the teacher in community center activi- 
ties, they will be prepared to cooperate with him in the 
real activities of the school. 

How Some Teachers Have Secured Community Co- 
operation. Some time ago the writer sent a questionnaire 
to a hundred or more teachers who had been active in 
community center work. He takes the liberty of quoting 
from some of the replies, showing what these teachers 
had experienced. 

"All of the parents were present at one of the meetings except 
three, who were detained by sickness. These meetings have created 
a stronger and better school sentiment, better cooperation between 
parents and teacher." 

"I secured the hearty cooperation of the community, and the 
meetings caused them to talk school, education, and progress. The 

An Aid to Teaching 95 

meetings have brought the people together educationally and so- 
cially. I have accomplished much more this year than I did three 
years ago when I taught the same school." 

"The neighborhood is divided regarding religion. There are 
two churches and so much dissension among the members of each 
that it was very hard to harmonize all the forces. I think the com- 
munity meetings helped considerably." 

"The meetings seemed to make every one more interested in the 
education of their children. They brought the parents into closer 
contact with the schools than ever before, and have enabled me to 
get along better with my school by understanding the people better." 

"This is a very large school. Last year there were two teachers. 
One had to leave and the other had two trials (in court). When I 
came here I saw at once that the main trouble was lack of public 
sentiment. First I visited all the parents. Then I organized a 
literary society. Pretty soon we had a box-supper and raised $40.95, 
which we used to purchase seventy-nine books for the library, two 
dozen drinking cups (for which the boys made a cabinet), a globe, 
and five framed pictures. The patrons are now asking for another 
box-supper to buy an organ for the school. I attribute my success 
to the personal visits and to these meetings." 

"The best cooperation I ever had. This was made very simple 
by first arousing an interest in spelling. We did not have a dissent- 
ing vote at this precinct in the high school election, 204 votes being 
cast. Our best social center meeting was our celebration of the vic- 
tory of establishing a district high school. I expect to use the social 
center next year to improve the use of the mother tongue in the 

"There is now a strong sentiment for better schools in Sheridan 
district. The people want a high school. My impressions are and 
have been for some years that we must reach the parents by some 
means, and I believe this social center movement is almost the only 
avenue of approach that we have." 

"There are three schools on Campbell's Run that can work to- 
gether nicely. The first meeting was a meeting of the three schools 
at a central point, at which the pupils engaged in different games, 

96 The Community Center 

Buch as foot races, jumping, tug-of-war, and baseball. There is now 
strong talk of consolidating these three schools. My school consists 
of only eight scholars." 

"I notice that some old grudges and feuds have given way to 
friendship and social intercourse. The people are able to get together 
and exchange ideas about the practical pursuits of life." 

The experience of these teachers may help to convince 
other teachers that it is possible to secure the cooperation 
of parents if the teacher will exercise good judgment and 
tact in dealing with them. 


School Attendance a Perennial Problem. The problem 
of school attendance is common to all kinds of schools. 
Most of the states now have laws undertaking to compel 
attendance of all children up to a given age. These laws 
are enforced with varying degi-ees of success. They are 
no doubt a necessary evil. Still, every teacher knows 
how difficult it is to get children to do school work, if 
they attend school only because they are compelled by 
law. The teacher can keep a pupil in school, but he may 
have great difficulty in making him work. For, when it 
comes to compulsion of attendance, the teacher has not 
only the boy to deal with but, in many cases, the parents 

But Teachers Can Solve the Attendance Problem. 
Although we are not dealing primarily with the question 
of school attendance, this problem/ has a very close rela- 
tion to the community center movement. For that 
reason, we venture to state that legal compulsory attend- 
ance is the laziest possible method that can be employed 
to keep children in school ; and that, if he is willing to 

An Aid to Teaching 97 

make the necessary effort, the teacher can take care of 
at least ninety per cent of all truancies. Among the best 
means that can be employed are included the attractive- 
ness of good teaching, humane treatment of the children, 
and skill in dealing with their parents, none of which would 
properly fall into this discussion. 

Legal and Moral Contracts of Teachers. When a 
teacher contracts to teach a school he makes both a legal 
and a moral contract. His legal contract requires that 
he teach a stated or implied number of hours for so many 
days and that he maintain proper discipline in his school. 
His moral contract requires in addition that, if possible, 
he bring under his instruction and influence the boys and 
the girls, who, without his personal efforts, would not 
attend school. 

How to Fulfill the Moral Contract. The teacher can do 
that (1) by visiting the homes of the children, talking with 
them and their parents, encouraging, persuading; and 
(2) by leading the parents at the community center 
meetings into discussions of the value of education to 
the future welfare of the children and through them to 
the future welfare of the community. If the teacher 
can win the good will and the confidence of the children, 
and at the same time obtain the intelligent cooperation 
of their parents, he will be able to get the children into the 
school, and, by skillfully handling them, to keep them there. 

How Some Teachers Have Improved School Attend- 
ance. Upon this point we wish to offer a few testimonials 
from teachers who have succeeded in accomplishing this 
very purpose : 

" These meetings had a decided result upon the attendance. Ten 
pupils were neither absent nor tardy during the whole term. Patrons 
have shown their willingness to aid in every way they could." 

98 The Community Center 

"These meetings improved school sentiment wonderfully. They 
caused the patrons to send their children to school more regularly. 
Out of an enrollment of thirty-two pupils, sixteen were neither absent 
nor tardy. Some of the pupils had to come two and one-half miles 
over rough roads." 

"These meetings have improved attendance, minimized tardiness, 
and stimulated the pupils to greater efforts." 

" The boys and girls who have been in the habit of leaving school 
before the term closed attended regularly this year." 

"Our average attendance was forty-four for the entire term. 
Heretofore, they tell me, it was only fifteen to twenty. Our enroll- 
ment was sixty-four, the oldest scholar being thirty-six years of age. 
Four young men and women who had been out of school three or four 
years attended regularly and did excellent work. Twenty-four 
children got perfect attendance certificates. The people are petition- 
ing the board of education to build them a two-room school for next 

"My success this winter is due largely to the community center 
meetings. I never was in a school before where I was able to hold 
the interest of the children until the last day of the term. Interest 
did not prevail among the children alone, but reached also to the 
entire sub-district. One patron remarked on the last day of the term 
that it was the first school he had ever been interested in." 

These enthusiastic statements from teachers who had 
the courage to test the efficacy of the community center 
movement ought to suggest to other teachers, similarly 
situated, a way to help solve the school attendance 


Lack of Incentives in Rural Schools. The preparation 
and the recitation of lessons, and nothing else, make 
pretty dull work for children. This is especially true 
with country children where this work is oftentimes un- 

An Aid to Teaching 99 

necessarily confined largely to textbooks; where the 
teacher has very little time to give individual instruction ; 
and where little opportunity is offered for play and 
recreation. In city schools children work together and 
play together in rather large groups. But in country 
schools we seldom find over four or five children in a class, 
and many a boy in the upper grades is the whole class 
himself, having to answer all the questions. When it 
is recess or noon, these older children are so few in num- 
ber that they cannot even organize a game. Is it any 
wonder, then, that they drop out of school at their first 
opportjmity ; or, that they look upon their school work 
as something merely to be tolerated? 

Parents' Attendance at Community Meetings an 
Encouragement to Children. The presence of the parents 
at the community meetings is encouraging to the pupils. 
They feel then that the school really amounts to some- 
thing. Let a few successful teachers bear witness to this 
fact : 

"These meetings encourage pupils to do better work, prove to 
the pupils that the parents are interested in their work, and help 
to hold the interest of the pupils in their studies." 

"These meetings and debates have caused many of the pupils 
to read the library books in search of material for debates and in- 
formation, and seemingly create a greater interest in all school work." 

"The interest the parents have shown in these meetings helps 
not only with the work of these meetings, but also creates a greater 
interest among the pupils in their regular school work." 

"These meetings are essential to good school work, for without 
them it is hard for the teacher, the parents, and the pupils to work 
in harmony. They promote interest and the right kind of school 

100 The Community Center 

"Our best meeting was a 'spelling-bee.' It was intensely inter- 
esting to see the parents pitted against the children, to see how they 
struggled for mastery. But several of the parents, some forty or 
fifty years of age, showed the rising generation that they could 
spell in the new book much better than the boys and girls who are 
now studying it." 

"I feel sure that these meetings exerted a most wholesome influ- 
ence on the school and its work." 

Teachers who have successfully conducted literary- 
exercises on Friday afternoons, whether the parents were 
present or not, will remember how glad children are when 
Friday afternoon comes and how eagerly they perform 
their parts of the program. Some teachers have even 
offered such exercises as a reward for good behavior and 
faithful work during the other four and a half days of the 
week. These exercises, whether in the afternoon or 
evening, furnish about the only recreation the children 
have. If they are held in connection with, or as a part 
of, the school, the children get the idea that the school 
itself is a bit more interesting than it otherwise would be ; 
and when their parents join them in giving the program, 
the children get some satisfaction in feeling that they are 
engaged in an enterprise in which the whole community 
is interested. 

The Only Training Children Have for Public Speaking. 
Furthermore, we should remember that about ninety-five 
per cent of these country children will quit school either 
upon completion of the elementary grades, or before that 
time ; that training in appearing before a public audience 
is beneficial to the individual and makes him more help- 
ful to the community; and that the literary exercises, 
or community meetings, are the only opportunities these 
children are going to have to get such training. Most 

An Aid to Teaching \\ Ti^dl" 

of us will remember the shaking of knees, the trembling 
of voice, and the general embarrassment we experienced 
when we first appeared before a public audience. The 
opportunity to shake off this embarrassment is certainly 
as important in our school program as many of the other 
things we are required to learn. One boy who had just 
gone through this ordeal testifies : "I believe I have 
been benefited by the literary exercises more than by 
any other one thing. It was very embarrassing at first, 
but that soon wore off." We should give every boy and 
girl an opportunity to dispel this fear of appearing before 
an audience, since at some time in life he or she may be 
called upon to speak in public. 


Teachers Should Identify Themselves with Their 
Communities. Many a teacher has failed either because 
he did not know the value of the community center as 
an aid to his work or because he was too timid or perhaps 
too selfish to undertake it. Once the writer asked a 
teacher how she liked her community. " Like it? " 
she said. " I care nothing about the community. I am 
paid to teach their kids and when I want to have a good 
time I go to town.'' This gu*l, of course, was among that 
very small number of teachers who fail to take teaching 
seriously. We are convinced that the great majority 
of our rural teachers are interested in their communities 
and are willing to do anything in their power to extend 
their influence and help to the whole community. 

By Helping Their Communities, Teachers Help Them- 
selves. What some teachers do not understand is that 
by helping their communities they help themselves as 

\^ : y] ' . ; ; The Cemmunity Center 

teachers. Suppose, for example, a teacher goes into a 
community where he is entirely unknown. Perhaps 
the conduct and success of his predecessor have not 
been such as to inspire a high regard for teachers. A 
pupil is punished for some violation of the rules of the 
school and goes home with his report of the same to his 
parents. In nine cases out of ten, under such circum- 
stances, the parents will believe the child's story. Word 
is passed from house to house, the story becoming worse 
every time it is told. Pretty soon the whole neighborhood 
is actively opposed to this teacher, ready to believe any 
report that they may hear about him. On the other 
hand, suppose the teacher goes into his community a 
few days before the school opens ; that he visits some of 
the homes and makes the acquaintance of as many of 
the parents as possible ; that as soon as he can, he visits 
others; and that very soon he calls them all together 
in a community meeting. If he has been able to impress 
them favorably and to win their confidence and respect, 
he will have fortified himself against any misrepresenta- 
tions that may be made. He will also have won the co- 
operation of the parents in his efforts at discipline as well 
as in teaching. 

Such Work Leads to Promotion. Regarding it from 
a purely selfish standpoint, the community center work, 
since that is a means of assuring his success in teaching, 
is one of the surest roads to promotion. If a teacher 
succeeds in a difficult school, he is not likely to have any 
trouble in securing a more desirable school later. If he 
is desirous of teaching in a city or graded school, his 
best means of realizing that ambition is to make a notable 
record as a country school teacher. For, in order to win 
promotion, the teacher must not merely succeed, he must 

An Aid to Teaching 103 

excel. The writer has in mind a rural teacher who se- 
cured an excellent promotion in this way. This young 
woman was not, however, ambitious for promotion, either 
to another country school or to a city school; she was 
very ambitious to teach a good school right there in her 
home neighborhood. By means of the community center 
she made such a notable record that at the end of the 
year she was invited to assume the larger duties of county 
girls' club agent. It is not so hard to teach an excep- 
tionally good country school where the whole community 
constitutes the school. The teacher who succeeds with 
such a school will not have to undergo the humiliation 
of " hunting " a school; he will be in demand. 

Another point worthy of consideration in this connec- 
tion is the teacher's own need of associations in the com- 
munity. It is not only the parents and the children of 
the country who need recreation and social intercourse, 
but the country teacher also. By means of the com- 
munity center he will have the pleasure of knowing all 
the people, of enjoying their fellowship, and of becoming 
identified with the community. And while he is inter- 
esting the people in community improvements and in all 
the other activities of the community center, he is at the 
same time providing interests for himself. The natural 
conclusion to draw, then, is that even from a purely selfish 
point of view, if there be no higher motive, the teacher owes 
it to himself to make the best possible use of the commu- 
nity center. 


1. Professor B. M. Davis refers to traditions that have grown 
up with the little one-room schoolhouse. Make two lists of such 
traditions, one containing those which may be fostered, and one 
containing those which ought to be corrected. 

104 The Community Center 

2. Suppose you are teaching in a community where the patrons 
desire a school such as theirs was and where they disapprove of 
innovations in methods of teaching and of school government. Out- 
line in detail the method which you would follow in overcoming that 

3. Both as regards the children and the community, contrast the 
moral effects of school attendance as secured by legal compulsion 
and by other approved methods. 

4. Enumerate the good effects you would expect the community 
center to have upon the work of your school (a) in its immediate 
results and (6) in its results upon the lives of the pupils when they 
become citizens. 

5. How could you recommend the community center from a selfish 
standpoint? Would such motive justify itself? 




Caution about Organization. A word of caution in 
regard to organization has already been offered in another 
connection.^ Mention is again made of it because, in plan- 
ning for the beginning of community center work, the or- 
ganization is the first thing that is usually thought of. 

We may safely say that if the people of a community 
have been accustomed to work together under organized 
machinery, then a mild form of organization may well 
be made immediately — consisting, say, of a chairman 
and a secretary. Even then the constitution and by-laws 
may be left entirely alone. A meeting of country people 
at their schoolhouse needs no such encumbrances. They 
come together to see one another and to enjoy the exer- 
cises of the program. They will not go far wrong in 
conducting themselves when they make a motion, address 
the chairman, or perform their parts on the program. 
They will do much better and have a much pleasanter 
time if left free to follow the dictates of common sense 
and the example of others. 

The Teacher May Assume Leadership. When the 
people are assembled for their first meeting, the teacher 
will do well simply to call them to order at the proper 
time, and assume the chairmanship or leadership. It 
would be appropriate for the teacher first to address the 

1 Pages 51-53 

106 The Community Center 

people, extending them welcome, explaining the purpose 
of the meeting and of succeeding meetings, and expressing 
his desire for their hearty cooperation. Then he may 
proceed with the previously arranged program. Before 
dismissing the meeting, the teacher may consult the 
people as to their wishes for another meeting and announce 
the time agreed upon. The program may be followed by 
a social half hour. 

As to the wisdom of avoiding a formal organization 
at first, the teacher assuming the leadership, we have 
very strong convictions. In this opinion we find Mr. 
W. E. Larson, State Supervisor of Rural Schools of Wis- 
consin, in full sympathy. In a personal letter Mr. Lar- 
son says : 

It is unwise in many localities to push the matter of organization 
too early. Many people are not ready for organized effort and it 
takes time to bring this about. Meanwhile the teacher continues 
to have meetings from time to time in the schoolhouse, at which the 
children give the larger part of the program. 

In her article ^ already referred to. Miss Margaret 
Woodrow Wilson expresses the same idea, with reference 
to the community center for the city, as follows : 

It remains to speak of the keystone of the structure of community 
center organization — that is, the community secretary. The ideal 
community secretary is the superintendent or principal of the school 
or his representative. His function is to direct and coordinate, and 
he becomes thereby not merely the master of the children intrusted 
to him for educational purposes, but also the servant of the people 
who support him in his position of authority over the children. 

Now in the one-teacher country school, the teacher is 
superintendent, principal, assistant, attendance officer, 
nurse, and sometimes janitor. He is the whole organiza- 

* " Getting Together," Ladies* Home Journal, December, 1917 

First Steps in the Community Center 107 

tion. There is every reason why he should assume leader- 
ship of his community. If for no other reason, he should 
do so for self -protection, since he is responsible for mak- 
ing the community center a success. He must take the 
initiative in this matter, since the people themselves 
oftentimes fail to understand the importance of choosing 
the ablest leader. 

Teach a Good School. The reader may wonder why 
we make the teaching of a good school one of the first 
steps in the rural community center. We do so because 
we wish to emphasize this very essential element. A 
teacher's ability to organize his school is the best index 
of his ability to organize his community and to assume 
its leadership for community cooperation. If he can win 
his pupils from the very first day, he will have their con- 
fidence and their unfailing loyalty. He will at the same 
time have done a very great deal towards winning the 
parents as well. For very soon an impression — favorable 
or unfavorable — goes out among the homes ; and an un- 
favorable impression is very hard to live down. On 
the other hand, a good impression m^y carry a teacher 
over many a trying experience. If the people of his 
community get the impression that he is a good teacher 
and that he is among them not for salary alone but also 
to help them in every possible way, they will most cer- 
tainly give him their loyal support and cooperation. One 
of the first steps, therefore, that a teacher must take in 
organizing his community' is to organize and conduct 
his school so as to place himself in a favorable light with 
the people among whom he expects to work out community 

Make a Survey of the Community. We do not mean 
that the teacher should attempt to make a scientific 

108 The Community Center 

survey of his community — certainly not immediately — 
but that he should take stock of its social, moral, and 
intellectual resources. He should know, for example, 
what organizations already exist, if any, their purpose 
and success, and their leaders. He should know the 
attitude of the people towards the school and towards 
the general progress of community life. He should know 
also in a general way the nature of any factions, quarrels, 
or feuds, so that he may regulate his conduct with refer- 
ence to them. He will, of course, learn all of these facts 
incidentally, without revealing his motives. The third 
step in building up the rural community center is, then, 
to acquire as much knowledge as possible of the com- 
munity — its aspirations, its advantages and disadvan- 
tages, and its past experiences. 

See the Leaders. After the teacher has assumed com- 
munity leadership, has begun to teach a good school, 
and has made a general survey, he should then, if not 
meanwhile, see those who are generally recognized as 
community leaders, — for example, the ministers, the 
editors, the heads of any existing organizations, and other 
prominent citizens, — so that he may acquaint them with 
his plans and enlist their cooperation. The test of his 
strength as well as the measure of his success will depend 
upon his ability to unite all the forces of leadership and 
talent in the community upon such plans as he and they, 
working together, may make and attempt to carry out. 
Of course, if he is teaching in a community where there 
are no recognized leaders, his task will be all the greater, 
for he will have to set about developing leaders. How- 
ever, it has been our observation that a community can 
scarcely be found that does not have some generally 
recognized leader. 

First Steps in the Community Center 109 

Get Acquainted with the People. After soliciting the 
cooperation of the leaders, the teacher's next step is to 
make the acquaintance of the other members of the 
community. The fact that he is the teacher makes an 
introduction unnecessary. As soon as possible he should 
call upon the parents in their homes. By doing so he 
will win many loyal helpers to his cause. Every teacher 
should, we think, attend the church of his choice and be- 
come a member of, or still better, a teacher in, the Sunday 
School. If there is no Sunday School, then he may be 
able to organize one. The church and Sunday School 
are excellent places to meet the parents. We have a 
strong conviction that many teachers fail, even as teach- 
ers, because they make no effort to become acquainted 
with the parents. Unless one can enter into the lives of 
the people and, for the time being at least, become a mem- 
ber of the community, he cannot hope even to teach a 
good school; most certainly he cannot hope to organize 
the people for commimity center work. 


The First Meeting. Making a beginning is perhaps the 
greatest difficulty to overcome. This is especially true 
of an inexperienced teacher. The difficulty consists very 
largely in getting the consent of one's own mind to under- 
take the work, on account of misgivings as to whether the 
people will respond to the call. 

In the average rural community, however, it is a mis- 
take to suppose that the people will not come out to these 
meetings, if properly approached; for many teachers 
have demonstrated the fact that they will come. But 
the teacher must make the first move* 

110 The Community Center 

Getting the People Out. If the teacher has been suc- 
cessful in making friends with the parents, he will be in a 
position to extend to them strong personal invitations. 
In these days it is possible, even in the country districts, 
to extend personal invitations by telephone. Next to 
the teacher's own personal invitations, the pupils will 
prove to be the best advertisers. It is an excellent plan 
to have the pupils prepare written invitations to their 
parents and friends and deliver these in person. These 
invitations afford an excellent opportunity to do some 
practical teaching in the art of letter writing, and may be 
prepared during the regular language study period. 

In many places it will be possible to have the program, 
or at least a notice of the meeting, printed in the news- 
papers. It is a good plan, also, to have the pupils pre- 
pare a write-up of the meeting as a class exercise in Eng- 
lish composition and then furnish the newspapers with 
the material. The privilege of preparing these reports 
may be offered as a reward for faithfulness and excellence 
in regular class work. It is well, also, to have the pupils 
print by hand a few notices to be posted in conspicuous 
places. It is amazing to note the enthusiasm children 
have in performing such tasks; and their enthusiasm 
breeds a similar enthusiasm in their parents. 

The Program. The teacher should exercise his very 
best judgment in arranging the first program. It is best 
not to attempt too much at first. If the community 
has not been accustomed to such exercises, it would prob- 
ably be advisable to have the children render a short 
program to be followed by a social hour. It is an excel- 
lent plan to have the pupils repeat some of the dramatiza- 
tions which they have already worked out in connection 
with their reading classes. 

First Steps in the Community Center 111 

Begin with the Past Social Experiences of the Com- 
munity. It is a good principle in pedagogy to begin 
with the previous experiences of the learner and proceed 
from the known to the related unknown. The same 
principle is remarkably applicable to rural community 
center work. We are convinced that a great many teach- 
ers have failed with the community meetings just at this 
point. The phrase " community center " is itself foreign 
to the vocabulary of the average country person. For 
this reason it may be advisable to speak of the proposed 
meeting as " a school literary," ** spelling-bee," or "de- 
bate " ; for then the people will understand it. It is 
very important that, in announcing the meeting and in 
the conduct of the same, the teacher use such phrases 
and plan such activities as will fall easily into the pre- 
vious experiences of the people. If the spelling-bee was 
once popular in that community, let the first program 
be an old-time spelling match, and call it that. Or, 
perhaps the people like to debate. If so, begin with a 
debate, filling in with readings, music, social games, etc. 
The aim of this first program should be to afford the great- 
est possible enjoyment with the least possible embarrass- 
ment. The people should feel that they have had a good 
time and that by all means they must have other meetings. 

Be a Good Host. Of course, the enjoyment of the 
meeting will depend very largely upon the teacher's skill 
as host. If he is a good host, he will be able to make the 
guests feel as much at ease at his school as they would 
in his home. He is, therefore, responsible for their enter- 
tainment. But he may best entertain by providing 
the means whereby the people may entertain themselves. 
That should be his guiding thought in arranging this 
first program. 

112 The Community Center 

Be Patient. It has been suggested (1) that the 
teacher should ordinarily avoid formal organization and 
assume the leadership of his community at its first meet- 
ing ; (2) that he should do his best to teach a good school 
from the very first day ; (3) that he should take stock of 
his community ; (4) that he should interest the commu- 
nity leaders in his plans ; (5) that he should make the 
acquaintance of as many of the parents as possible ; (6) 
that he should make his first meeting satisfying to the 
people; and (7) that he should make his first program 
fit into the previous experiences of the community. 
Finally, it may be necessary to exercise great patience 
in dealing with the patrons in these meetings. Perhaps 
not so many came as were expected; then the teacher 
will need to see the others before the next meeting, tell 
them how badly they are needed, and ask them to come 
next time. Maybe the program did not meet expecta- 
tions ; then this experience will be the teacher's guide in 
making up the next program. Everything cannot be 
accomplished all at once. The element of time is very 
important and must be reckoned with. If disappoint- 
ments come, they should be disregarded except in so far 
as the experience gained thereby helps toward future 
successes. The main thing is for the teacher to be 
patient and keep moving forward, leading the parents 
with him. He will be able in time greatly to enrich their 
lives and to help them discover new interests and acquire 
new and higher aspirations. 

How One Teacher Began and What She Accomplished. 
We have in mind one teacher who succeeded admirably 
with the community center by following out the sugges- 
tions which have just been made. Hers was the average 
rural community. She had no superior advantages of 

First Steps in the Community Center 113 

training or experience; but she had a strong determina- 
tion to succeed. Her first program was " Ye Old-Time 
School Days," which, by the way, is a very good one 
for a beginning. She had been a good advertiser, 
the children being her best means for this purpose. She 
had seen personally a great many of the older people in 
her community, because this program appealed partic- 
ularly to them. Indeed, she managed to have this whole 
program with one exception given by persons fifty years 
of age or over. It was as follows : 

1. Songs — all singing familiar songs 

2. Devotion, led by local minister 

3. "The Kind of School I Had," by a man sixty years old 

4. "How We Kept Warm," by a man eighty years old 

5. "What We Got When We Were Bad Boys and Girls," by a 


6. "The Kind of Teacher I Had," by a citizen 

7. "What I Learned When I Was a Boy," by a citizen 

8. "Why I Would Rather Be a Boy To-day," by a seventh-grade 


9. Songs, followed by social half hour. 

These folks had such a good time relating their early 
experiences and the children enjoyed their stories so much 
that there was no question as to whether they should 
have other meetings; they demanded other meetings. 
The next time they came together the teacher very skill- 
fully called attention to the fact that the school had no 
library and no pictures on the walls, and suggested that 
they might have a box-supper to raise money for their 
purchase. All were agreed. In two weeks they had the 
box-supper and raised over fifty dollars. We cannot 
relate the whole story, but by the end of the term this 
community had purchased six approved pictures, which 

114 The Community Center 

the teacher and pupils framed; had provided a library 
of one hundred volumes; had painted the inside walls 
of the schoolroom ; had furnished curtains for the win- 
dows ; and had installed lights for the evening meetings. 
The effects upon the school and upon the community 
itself can easily be inferred. 


1. Think of a community that you know and decide whether 
an organization should be effected for community center work. 
Describe the conditions which led to your decision. 

2. Criticize the author's suggestions under "Preparatory Steps." 
How can you improve upon these suggestions with reference to the 
community considered under exercise 1? 

3. What should be the attitude of the community center towards 
church activities? 

4. Prepare a program for a first meeting of a community center 
in a community which you know. Explain why you prepare this 
program in the form you have chosen. 

5. Enumerate the things that you would do at this first meeting 
to make the people desire other meetings. 

6. Does your program aim to entertain the people or does it 
provide the means whereby they may entertain themselves? 




Popularity of Evening Exercises. In the discussion 
of the community center thus far, we have had in mind 
mainly evening programs made up of activities entirely 
outside of the school work. In most small communities 
these evening exercises will prove to be the more popular, 
as their busy lives make it difficult for farmers and their 
wives to attend any kind of day meetings. 

Advantages of Day Meetings. In several states these 
community meetings are held at the schoolhouse during 
school hours, the children, for a time, continuing their 
regular class exercises. This plan has the advantage 
(1) of acquainting the parents with the work of their 
school, (2) of inspiring the children to do better work, 
and (3) of stimulating the teachers. Wisconsin has 
probably accomplished more than any other state with 
the special school programs which include regular school 
work. The Wisconsin plan has been so well described 
in a bulletin issued by State Superintendent C. P. Gary 
that we reproduce some of the outlines and suggestions 
as follows : 


Reading. A ten- to fifteen-minute exercise with a 
reading class well prepared is an entertaining feature. 

1 Gary, C. P. : Social and Civic Work in Country Communities, 
1913. Section 2 of this chapter is reproduced from the foregoing 
bulletin by permission. 


116 The Community Center 

The teacher may tell the class some time before the pro- 
gram is to be held (from two to four weeks perhaps) 
that each pupil will read one of the lessons between pages 

and (including from 20 to 40 pages). The result 

will be that the children will do their best to master 
these pages and will be able to read with expression. In 
this way the preparation for the special program is really 
an incentive to do the best possible work in the regu- 
lar reading class. 

Occasionally the teacher may use reading material 
outside of the regular textbook. Suitable selections from 
library books containing stories, descriptions, etc., can 
be used with good results. 

An exercise may be given with the primary reading 
class (beginners). Sentences may be written on the 
blackboard and the children may act them out. Word, 
phrase, phonic, and sentence drills may be given. 

Certain conversational selections in the reading books 
may be rendered in a very entertaining way by having 
different children " take parts " and one child read the 
narrative parts of the story. When trained in this 
way, the children become alert and the practice does 
much to improve the expression of the children in their 

Too much of this work should not be put on any one 
program. One reading exercise is usually enough. 

Language. A part of the regular language work of the 
school is to memorize certain selections. These may be 
recited as part of the school program. 

All through the course there should be story-telling. 
These stories which they tell in the regular classes may be 
told in the special programs. In selecting stories for the 
primary children especially, care should be exercised not 

special School Programs 117 

to make selections that would in any way cause offense. 
There are so many good stories to tell that there is no need 
of bringing in any that might be questionable in certain 

A part of the language work consists of a dramatiza- 
tion of stories. When these are well learned, they may be 
used as dialogues and thus bring about a good and easy 
expression on the part of the pupils. When stories are 
dramatized in this way, it is well to have some child tell 
the story first, as some of the people in the audience may 
not be familiar with it. 

The children read books from the library. Some of 
these books are very interesting and pupils delight in 
telling about them. A child may be placed on the pro- 
gram to tell about a book that he has enjoyed. 

The larger pupils especially may be placed on the pro- 
gram to tell about certain things they have studied in 
school. Topics from history, geography, or agriculture 
are suitable for these talks. 

A roll call to which the children respond by giving mem- 
ory gems, quotations, etc., is a usable feature. 

Some of the most interesting compositions written by 
the pupils in school may be read. 

Arithmetic. A blackboard exercise may be given in 
which the children show their skill in handling a certain 
class of problems. These problems should not be compli- 
cated and should be of such a nature that the children 
can readily perform the operations. 

Exercises in the writing of numbers, in adding, sub- 
tracting, multiplying, and dividing, in simple fractions 
and decimals are suitable for this kind of work. Not 
more than ten minutes should be used for any one exercise. 
The children should be carefully drilled beforehand so 

118 The Community Center 

that no time is wasted in going to and from the board, 
in erasing, etc. 

An exercise in mental arithmetic is especially valuable. 
In this work, care should be taken not to make the prob- 
lems too difficult for the pupils. The work should be 
carried on briskly. 

A few minutes' drill for the younger ones makes an 
interesting feature. 

In this work special effort should be made to have work 
that can easily be understood by all of the people present. 
If this work is properly conducted, the teacher can 
incidentally interest the non-attending boys and girls of 
the community in the work of the school by taking up 
some certain line of work such as hay problems, land 
problems, etc., and showing what the children who are 
attending school are doing. 

Spelling. A ten-minute exercise with a group of 
children makes an interesting feature on the school pro- 
gram. The teacher may announce to the children a 
month before the program is to be given that a certain 
group will spell for ten minutes. The words that will be 
used in this exercise may be designated so that the children 
may master this list. These children will then make 
the best effort possible to remain standing during the ten 
minutes. In this list should be included words from the 
other subjects, which they need to learn. 

A blackboard exercise in spelling may also be con- 
ducted, using a list which the children have had a chance 
to master. 

Music. Every school has some singing. The songs 
that the children learn to sing in their regular school work 
may be put on the special school program. The sugges- 
tion is made that the songs which the children learn to 

special School Programs 119 

sing should be appropriate to childhood, or they should 
be songs which are worth knowing. The teaching of 
many of the popular songs, which in some sections is getting 
to be common, should rather be discouraged. 

Demonstration Work. Whenever a child has learned 
to do something successfully, he can be placed on the 
program to do that work. A knot-tying contest may be 
an interesting feature if the children have become success- 
ful in the tying of the various kinds of knots. 

Teachers who have done any work of this kind will 
be able to adapt some of this work to the special program. 
Too many presentations, however, should not be given 
on any one program. 

Current Events. In many schools the teachers are 
asking their children to report important events and to 
give short talks on them. Some of the larger children 
in school may be placed on the program in this way. 
Topics of civic, geographical, historical, biographical, 
or hygienic interest may be presented. 

Gymnastic Drills and Games. It frequently happens 
that the children cannot play outside. During recess 
the teacher can profitably spend the time by giving the 
children a few simple drills. These drills can then be 
presented at the special school programs. When well 
learned, they have great value and are an entertaining 

Exhibits of Written Work. It may add to the interest 
of the people in the school to have exhibited on the walls 
of the schoolroom some of the work of the pupils. If 
there is sufficient room, it is well to ask the parents to 
take a little time for inspecting this work. It is un- 
necessary to mention here what these exhibits might 

120 The Community Center 

Programs May Contain Talks on School Work by 
Outsiders. When the people are gathered together in 
the schoolroom to listen to the children and to see the 
work done by the school, it is well to have some adult 
give a short talk on some phase of school work. It is 
always well for the teacher to speak to the parents and 
call their attention to certain matters pertaining to the 
common interest of the home and school. Occasionally 
the county superintendent or some other educational 
leader may be secured who can address the parents. 
These talks as a rule should be short and to the point. 
The speaker should remember that he has a mixed audi- 
ence and should try to say something that is both interest- 
ing and instructive. An occasion of this kind should 
not be treated lightly, and the person who speaks should 
not feel that he is there simply to "fill in time." In 
all these talks there should be an optimistic spirit, although 
it may be necessary at times to criticize certain tendencies 
on the part of the children and parents. The speaker 
should endeavor to awaken in the parents a desire to 
give their children the best possible development. In 
some communities, where many of the people are unable 
to understand the English language, a short talk may be 
given in a foreign language. 

Programs for Special Occasions. The foregoing sug- 
gestions are for the ordinary school programs, — those 
programs that may be held at any time during the year. 
Occasionally, however, the community desires to have a 
program commemorating some special day, such as 
Memorial Day, Washington's Birthday, etc. On an 
occasion of this kind the material should, of course, be 
suited to the special day, and exercises in arithmetic, 
spelling, etc., should be omitted. Much of the program, 

Special School Programs 121 

however, may be taken from the regular work of the 
school. The recitations and stories may be worked into 
the regular language classes, special readings may be 
taken up in the reading classes, and the songs practiced 
by the school. 

Visiting Days. In some communities the teachers 
have what are known as visiting days. The teachers 
and pupils invite the parents to come to the school to 
spend the afternoon. Regular school work is carried 
on so that the parents may see the work the children are 
doing. After the regular work of the school has been 
finished, a social hour follows in which the parents and 
teachers become acquainted. 

A Few General Suggestions. Whenever a program 
is given in which the children take part for the purpose of 
showing the work of the school, every child should do 
something. The teacher should, however, avoid going 
to the other extreme of having some pupils on the pro- 
gram several times. 

Do not have too long or too difficult programs. It is 
better to have a short meeting and have every one go 
home satisfied than to draw the meeting out and have 
people tired. 

The work should be well presented and it should be 
worth while. Do not have the children attempt to give 
something that is too difficult or too complex for them. 
It is better to have something well presented, even if it 
is simple and easy. 

Plan the programs very carefully. Have a system. 
Arrange the program in such a way that there will be the 
minimum loss of time between the parts. Seat the 
children in such a way that they can render their parts 
to the greatest advantage. 

122 The Community Center 

Where a large number of children take part in the 
program, it is well to arrange the program by groups. If 
there are thirty or more children to take part, all those 
who are in the primary form may be marched up to the 
front together to give their songs, recitations, stories, 
etc., as one section of the program. This will also aid 
those who are timid. 


It occurs to us that part of the time assigned to these 
special school programs might well be devoted to debates, 
spelling-bees, literary exercises, etc., where the parents 
would take a prominent part. A debate between a parent 
on one side and a schoolboy on the other makes a very 
interesting number on a program. A spelling-bee, in 
which the opposing teams are chosen in the old-fashioned 
way by two " captains," is an exercise in which all can 
join. For part of the program social games and physical 
contests could be arranged. 

Special School Programs May Be Given at Night. 
Furthermore, if the parents cannot attend a special 
school program during regular school hours, let an occa- 
sional evening program be devoted to a regular session 
of the school, so that the parents can then inspect the 
work of their children. 


1. What are the chief advantages of the Wisconsin plan of special- 
day programs? Do you detect any disadvantages of that plan? 

2. What kind of communities would benefit most by a plan 
whereby the regular class work of the school is conducted by the 
rej;iilar teachers at an occasional evening gathering? 

Special School Programs 123 

3. Show how each plan, 1 and 2, is in keeping with the general 
principles and policies of the community center. 

4. Enumerate the chief advantages of keeping "open house," 
or visiting days. Who is likely to benefit most, the children, the 
teacher, or the parents? 

5. What effects are visiting days and special-day programs likely 
to have upon school discipline? What effect upon the children's 
general attitude towards their own work? 




The rural community center may take the form of a 
parent-teacher association and group all of its activities 
around this organization for the attainment of its pur- 
poses; but, in general, the parent-teacher association 
will constitute one of the special organizations within 
the community center. 

In Rural Districts. Heretofore, parent-teacher asso- 
ciations have been confined mainly to the cities and larger 
towns. With the growth of the community center move- 
ment in rural districts, however, there can be no good 
reason why the parent-teacher association may not very 
soon become an integral and vital part of that movement. 

The National Congress of Mothers. In 1897, the 
National Congress of Mothers was organized. For the 
past twenty-two years, this organization has aimed to 
link together the parent-teacher associations of the 
country " for conference and united work," and to ex- 
tend the work of these associations by the organization 
of new associations wherever possible and by the organ- 
ization of state congresses of mothers. This national 
organization has aimed always to make these associations 
coextensive with the school systems of the several states. 
Its platform is expressed in its constitution, as follows : 


Miscellaneous Activities 125 

The objects of this congress shall be to raise the standards of home 
life; to give young people opportunities to learn how to care for 
children, so that when they assume the duties of parenthood they 
may have some conception of the methods which will best develop 
the physical, intellectual, and spiritual nature of the child ; to bring 
into closer relations the home and the school, that parents and teach- 
ers may cooperate intelligently in the education of the child; to 
surround the childhood of the whole world with that wise, loving 
care in the impressionable years of life that will develop good citi- 
zens; to use systematic and earnest effort to this end, through the 
formation of parent-teacher associations in every public school and 
elsewhere, through the establishment of kindergartens, and in the 
distribution of literature which will be of practical use to parents 
in the problems of home life ; to secure more adequate laws for the 
care of blameless and dependent children ; and to carry the mother- 
love and mother-thought into all that concerns childhood. 

Child Welfare Magazine. Since its organization, the 
Congress of Mothers has steadily increased its educa- 
tional program for parents. It has established the Child 
Welfare Magazine, which each month publishes one or 
more articles suitable for the program of a parent-teacher 
association. It has typewritten papers, which are graded 
for different needs and which furnish valuable educational 
material for any parent-teacher association, thus making 
it independent of speakers. 

United States Bureau of Education — Home Division. 
Closely associated with the National Congress of Mothers 
is the Home Education Division of the United States 
Bureau of Education. Dr. P. P. Claxton, United States 
Commissioner of Education, has said of this division : 

It is our intention to issue bulletins and literature, practical in 
their character, which will be available to every home. The National 
Congress of Mothers and parent-teacher associations have agreed 
to assist the Bureau of Education in this work and can supply much 
literature not available through this office. 

126 The Community Center 

Parent-teacher associations, therefore, have available 
the combined assistance of the National Congress of 
Mothers and the United States ^Bureau of Education. 

Free Literature. Most of the bulletins of the United 
States Bureau of Education dealing with child welfare 
and parent-teacher associations are free. Parent-teacher 
associations, mothers' circles, or child-study circles may 
receive the literature and other helps of the National 
Congress of Mothers by becoming members and paying 
ten cents per capita a year. The organization applying 
for membership should send a list of the names of officers 
and members to the state secretary where there is a 
state congress, and a duplicate to the National Secre- 
tary, 910 Loan and Trust Building, Washington, D. C. 
Even if the organization does not wish to become a 
member of the Congress, it may receive many leaflets 
and other helps upon application to the National Sec- 

A Constitution for Parent-Teacher Associations. It 
may be recalled that we have already cautioned against 
immediately adopting a constitution and by-laws for the 
community center. But as the parent-teacher associa- 
tion represents a differentiation of the community center, 
a constitution and by-laws may well be formulated. 
They may help in the conduct of the business of the 
organization and at the same time may provide training 
in organizing and directing similar work. The Congress 
of Mothers (1914) has published the following suggested 
constitution : 

Article I 

This society shall be called the Parents* Circle (or the Parent- 
Teacher Association) of the School. 

Miscellaneous Activities 127 

Article II 

Its object shall be to study the welfare of the child in home, school, 
and community and create a better mutual understanding between 
parents and teachers and their cooperation in all work for the interest 
of the children. 

Article III 

Any one interested in the purpose for which the club is organized 
is qualified for membership. 

Article IV 

The officers of the circle shall be a President, a Vice-President, a 

Secretary, and a Treasurer, elected annually at the meeting of 

the year. 

Article V 

Regular meetings of the circle shall be held on the afternoon 

(or evening) of each month. Special meetings by order of . 

Article VI 

This constitution may be amended at any annual meeting or by 
unanimous consent at any regular meeting when previous notice has 
been given. 

By-laws may be made to meet immediate needs. They 
should govern the election of officers, their duties, the 
payment of dues, etc. 

Appropriate Subjects for Discussion. 

The physical care of the child in the home. 
The combined responsibility of mothers and teachers. 
How can the home help the school ? 
Honoring the child's individuality in the home. 
How to safeguard American citizenship through the school and 
the home. 

Effect of indiscriminate associations among children. 

128 The Community Center 

When is a mother a good mother? 

How to insure the cooperation of teacher and parents. 

How shall the school and the home combine to cultivate in children 
habits of reading the right kind of books? 

Common diseases of children and how to treat them. 

How can parents assist school and health officers in preventing 
the spread of contagious diseases ? 

Effects of physical environment upon the work of the school. 

Who shall impart religious instruction to the children, the Sunday- 
School only, or the parents and teachers also? 

How to make studying and reading in the home attractive to 

How much assistance should parents give their children in the 
preparation of their school tasks? 

How parents often hinder the work of the school. 

The effect of school discipline upon home discipline, and vice 

How to relate school work to the industrial activities of the com- 

How the home may help to increase school attendance. 

What is the greatest need in this community? 

Local and General Work. Dr. Charles A. Wagner, 
formerly Commissioner of Education of Delaware, classi- 
fies the work of parent-teacher associations as local and 
general. Among local activities, Dr. Wagner suggests 
school attendance, medical inspection of school children, 
standardizing schools, school equipment, the school 
beautified, school lunches, home gardening, club work, 
school meets, school savings banks, consolidation of 
schools, school library, holiday celebrations, and school 
sanitation; while among general activities he mentions 
the school tax problem, state health inspection, teachers' 
pensions, instruction in special subjects, school super- 
vision, good roads, etc. Any or all of these problems 
may be considered by the community center. If the 
parent-teacher association be the community center, 

Miscellaneous Activities l29 

then, of course, it has this whole field of usefulness as its 
reason for existence; while, if it be a differentiation of 
the community center, it would perhaps do well to con- 
sider only those phases of the community's needs which 
concern the cooperation of the school and the home, as 
its name implies. 

Cooperating Agencies. The parent-teacher associa- 
tion will, of course, cooperate with the church, the press, 
the grange, the farmers' institute, the extension service 
of the state college of agriculture, the state board of 
agriculture, the county farm agents, the state board of 
health and its local organizations, and with such other 
agencies as seek to promote its principles. 


The Grange. The Grange, or Patrons of Husbandry, 
is in the nature of a farmers' club. It was organized 
in 1867 by Oliver H. Kelley, a native of Boston, who in 
1866 was selected by the National Government to make 
a toiir of inspection through the devastated South for 
the purpose of studying its conditions and resources. 
Soon after his return, he and six other interested men for- 
mulated the Grange, the purpose of which was twofold : 
to advance the cause of education among farmers, and to 
create the spirit of peace and brotherhood between the 
North and the South. This organization has become 
nation-wide. By 1873 the membership had reached a half 
million and it is now more than a million. In speaking 
of the extent and influence of this organization Dr. Kenyon 
L. Butterfield says : ^ "To enumerate the achievements 
of the Grange would be to recall the progress of agriculture 

1 Chapters in Rural Progress. 

130 The Community Center 

during the last third of a century." The Grange has 
undoubtedly, since its existence, been the deciding influ- 
ence in the passage of a great many progressive laws 
relating to social, moral, and economic rural life. 

Educational and Social Work. But perhaps the edu- 
cational and social work of the Grange has been the chief 
source of its usefulness. It has revolutionized the social 
life of many communities. It is in itself a rural com- 
munity center. And where a grange is found, it may 
be possible for the school to unite with it in community 
center activities ; no other farmers* club, certainly, would 
be necessary. But in communities where a subordinate 
grange is not found, then a farmer's club will find a place 
and a purpose. In fact, the activities which have just 
been assigned to the parent-teacher association may be 
carried on with equal effectiveness by the farmers' club. 
For it should be borne in mind that the general purpose 
is always the same, whatever be the name or the methods 
of the organization. Of course, the farmers' club usually 
devotes the major part of its activities to problems of 
agriculture, cooperative marketing and buying, etc. ; 
but sociability should be, and naturally will be, a promi- 
nent feature of every meeting. And, if properly directed, 
a club of this kind would naturally interest itself in such 
problems as school improvement, public highways, etc. 

The organization of farmers' clubs is now usually pro- 
moted and directed by the county and district agricultural 
club agents; but these agents can make these clubs 
most effective only when in cooperation with the school 
and the teacher. The teacher, therefore, should not 
fail to seek the help of the national agricultural experts 
assigned to duty in his school district. He should seek 
also the assistance of his county superintendent and of 

Miscellaneous Activities 131 

any other persons who may be prepared to help him in 
the organization and direction of a farmers' club at his 


A School Activity. Agricultural clubs among boys 
and girls are usually directed by the United States De- 
partment of Agriculture through the extension divisions 
of the state colleges of agriculture and through the county 
agricultural agents. Yet, in most places, these clubs 
are organized at the schools and meetings are held at 
the schoolhouses, frequently under the immediate direc- 
tion of the teacher. These meetings are a specialized 
form of the rural community center, and in many places 
they are the community center, the president of the club 
being the chairman of the community center meetings. 

The agricultural club supplements and enriches the 
work of the school. It is the one feature of the school 
work that is sure to be alive and active, for it not only 
teaches the boys and girls the more fundamental and 
practical things about the vocation of agriculture, but 
it also furnishes the laboratory work for geography, 
arithmetic, and English. The boys' and girls' club work 
is a connecting link between the routine work of the 
formal/ subjects and the lives of the boys and girls. 

Cooperation between Teacher and Agricultural Club 
Agent. It is unnecessary, and it would be unwise, to 
describe the work and methods of the boys' and girls' 
agricultural clubs in detail; for every state now has its 
agricultural agents and its agricultural literature. If 
there is a county agricultural agent, a teacher should 
get into communication with him. The agent will be 

132 The Community Center 

able and glad to give his personal assistance and to put 
into the hands of the teacher such literature as is needful 
in organizing agricultural clubs in the schools. The 
kinds of clubs for a given community will depend, of 
course, upon the kinds of crops produced and the agri- 
cultural possibilities of the immediate community. 
Among the clubs which have been organized in the United 
States are those for the production or promotion of the 
following: corn, sorghums, pigs, poultry, tomatoes, 
potatoes, gardening and canning, apples, cooking, sewing, 
farm and home handicraft, dairy, baby beef, bees, melons, 
and others almost without number. Among the activities 
of these clubs may be mentioned exhibits, prizes, fairs, 
records and reports, com judging and seed-corn testing, 
in addition to the production and sale of farm products. 
Aim of Agricultural Clubs. — The aim of boys' and 
girls' agricultural clubs is, of course, first of all to arouse 
in the boys and girls an interest in agriculture and to 
give them such technical knowledge of farming and 
domestic arts as will enable them to be good farmers 
or farmers' wives. Many of our older children are 
looking forward eagerly to the time when they may go 
away to the cities. Many of them will eventually meet 
with discouragement and failure in those cities. We 
must find for them in the country the equivalent of their 
zeal for the city. Does not the successful agricultural 
club partially meet this requirement? 


Need of More Play in Country Communities. Adults, 
as well as boys and girls, enjoy almost any kind of play 
and athletics. Very few country people play, mainly 

Miscellaneous Activities 133 

because they do not know how. It is surprising how few 
games country boys and girls are acquainted with. The 
teacher can very easily teach them games, and then, 
when the community gets together for a day meeting, 
the older members can easily be taught these plays and 
games by the teacher and pupils. Next to singing to- 
gether, playing together is certainly one of the very best 
ways of uniting a community so as to insure their cooper- 
ation with the school in plans for community improve- 
ment. It is not necessary to organize athletic teams, 
though that may be done with good results. It is better 
to find games in which just as many as possible, old and 
young, can engage. Nothing is better at first than games 
which will provoke a great deal of laughter and enable 
the participants to have a lot of genuine fun. 

Three-legged Race. This is a game which the spec- 
tators will greatly enjoy and which at the same time 
requires a great deal of skill and speed. " Fasten a 
strap to the inside ankles of two runners, and join these 
by a loop strap three inches long. Fasten a similar 
strap above the knees, with a connecting loop two inches 
long. It is well to have one runner taller than the other, 
so that he can get a good hold over his partner's shoulder 
around his waist." The contestants should have a great 
deal of practice in preparation for this race. 

Potato Race. " This is another very interesting event, 
but very trying, and hence should not be made too long. 
Children should practice a good deal before being allowed 
to enter a closely contested meet. For each contestant, 
place a basket containing three potatoes at the far end of 
a twelve-yard line. Along the line every three yards, 
draw a two-foot circle, the first circle being three yards 
from the starting line and the third circle being three 

134 The Community Center 

yards from the basket. A contestant must start from 
the starting hne and run to the basket, get one potato 
and place it in circle No. 1, or the one farthest from the 
basket. He then gets a second potato and places it in 
the middle circle, then gets the third potato and places 
it in the third circle. He then races to the starting line, 
returns, and replaces the potatoes, one at a time, in the 
basket, in the order in which they were distributed. 
He must go around the basket each time a potato is 
replaced in it. He finishes in a dash across the starting 
line. In practicing for this race, do not run fast at first. 
Go slowly at first, and get firmly in mind just what to do 
at each step. Acquire accuracy in getting the potatoes 
and in placing them in the circles so they will stay. If 
one rolls out, you must return and place it back in the 
circle, else you are disqualified." 

Tug-of-War. This game is played more in colleges 
on especial occasions, perhaps, than anywhere else, but 
it is well adapted to country communities if it be properly 
directed. To play this game, procure a manila rope 
about five inches in circumference; fasten a clamp at 
the middle, and about three feet from this clamp toward 
either end fasten other clamps to mark the limit to which 
any player may approach the middle. There must be 
no knots or other obstructions on the rope. When all 
is ready, about twelve players on each side pull in opposite 
directions. Contestants are not allowed to wrap the 
rope around their arms, legs, or bodies, nor may they 
wear gloves or shields on their hands, but they may use 
adhesive substances on the hands. No weights shall be 
worn except in accordance with rules. If the required 
distance is not made by either side after five minutes, 
a rest of two minutes shall be allowed, and if, after another 

Miscellaneous Activities 135 

five minutes' pull it has not been made, the award shall 
be made to the team having made the farthest pull. 
This game will prove to be very popular with the young 
men of the community. 

These are examples of a large number of games of this 
kind which are easy to learn. The teacher should, if 
possible, have some good book on plays and games. One 
of the very best is Games for the Playground, Home, 
School, and Gymnasium by Jessie H. Bancroft, Macmil- 
lan Company. Social Plays, Marches, Old Folk Dances 
and Rhythmic Movements, for use in Indian Schools, 
Government Printing Office, Washington, and The Re- 
organized School Playground, Bulletin No. 40, 1913, 
United States Bureau of Education, can both be secured 
free or at a nominal cost. 


The Problem of Illiteracy. The fact that among the 
young men drafted for military service so many thousands 
were unable to read the English language has awakened 
renewed interest in evening schools. Some persons 
would have us believe that illiteracy in this country is 
confined to negroes and foreigners; but a statement of 
this kind can hardly be substantiated. The United States 
census shows that there are proportionately more illiter- 
ates in the country districts than in the cities ; whereas, 
we know that, except in some of the southern states, 
most of the negroes and foreigners are in the cities. The 
fact is that right among our native stock on the farms 
there are many thousands who have never gone to school 
at all or who have not gone long enough to be able to read 
and write. Certainly this is a situation to challenge 

136 The Community Center 

the high purposes of the rural community center. It is 
not difficult to arrange for the instruction of such persons 
during part of the evenings when the community meets 
at the " center," for, while one of the leaders is engaged 
in this work, others may be giving instruction in such sub- 
jects as agriculture, farm arithmetic, farm accounting, 
English literature, and history. This plan is particularly 
feasible where two or more neighboring teachers unite 
for community center work, and it has been carried out 
successfully in several places. So, let one hour be given 
to the evening school work and the rest of the time to 
the rendering of a short program or to social enjoyment, 
remembering that the sooner the community center 
gets started in some kind of constructive work that touches 
the lives and the pursuits of the people, the firmer will 
be its hold on the attention of the community. 


One should guard against any appearance of managing 
the community center as a money-making enterprise. 
Nothing would be farther from its real purpose. Yet 
certain occasions may arise when entertainment for profit 
would not be objectionable and when, on the other hand, 
it would be in keeping with the temporary purpose of 
the community center. For example, if it happens that 
public funds are not available for purchasing library 
books, maps, globes, window shades and curtains, supple- 
mentary readers, and other kinds of school equipment, 
and if the community center desires to supply these, 
then an entertainment for profit would be a worthy proj- 
ect. The teacher will have to be the judge as to whether an 
entertainment of this kind would meet with public approval. 

Miscellaneous Activities 137 

The best way to be assured on that question is to let 
the people discuss the proposition and decide for them- 
selves. If they are really interested in doing spmething 
of that kind, then a few programs, part or all of which are 
for profit, will do no harm and may do a great deal of 
good. A few of the more common methods of entertain- 
ing for profit are suggested in the following paragraphs. 

Box-Suppers. In some sections of the country the 
box-supper is the best known and one of the most popu- 
lar forms of entertainment for profit. Each of the women 
and young girls prepares a box of food, or more often of 
dainties. These boxes are brought to the meeting with 
the names of the owners concealed inside, so that the 
purchaser of the box may not know whose box he is buying. 
When all is ready, some one is appointed to sell the boxes 
to the boys and men. In some places each box is sold 
for a fixed price, fifty cents or one dollar. This plan 
has apparently not proved to be as successful as the 
method of " auctioning " the boxes, knocking them down 
to the highest bidder. The latter method will also usually 
net more money than the former. Besides, bidding 
against one another is part of the fun. We have attended 
some of these box-suppers where a box has netted as 
much as ten dollars, the purchaser consoling himself, 
no doubt, with the feeling that he was contributing to 
a worthy cause. We have never attended a meeting 
of this kind where there was undue disorder, or where 
serious trouble of any kind arose. This sort of meeting 
is in the nature of a frolic, of course, but nothing can be 
better occasionally for the rural community where there 
are so few opportunities for social enjoyment. After 
the boxes have all been sold, the purchasers find the 
original owners and all sit down to supper. 

138 The Community Center 

Peanut Socials. Peanut socials and pie suppers are 
carried on in the same way. It makes little difference 
what one of these affairs is called ; fun and social enjoy- 
ment are the indirect objects, and they all amount to 
the same thing — a pleasant way of contributing to a public 
enterprise. Some time ago the writer attended one of 
these affairs undertaken by the school in order to raise 
money for the purchase of a victrola. It was called a 
peanut social, but there were not many peanuts. Some 
of the boxes had fudge in them, some had chocolates, 
while others had sandwiches. The sales netted the 
school a little over fifty dollars. In a few weeks another 
meeting of this kind raised enough more to purchase 
the victrola and some records besides. Later, a similar 
meeting was held for the purchase of more records. This 
was a community victrola, and all could come to the 
schoolhouse to enjoy it together. 

" Side Shows." It is often profitable to run one or 
more " side shows " at one of these money-making enter- 
tainments. A very good one is " fortune telling." Let 
one of the ladies make up as a gypsy fortune teller and 
prepare a booth in one corner of the room as her tent. 
A small fee of five or ten cents should be charged each 
one who wishes to know his future. This kind of scheme 
furnishes a lot of fun and at the same time supplements 
to some extent the amounts raised for the school in other 

Another very good device is the "fish pond." An 
impromptu screen is arranged so as to inclose a fancied 
lake or pond. On the inside,"a girl is stationed for the 
purpose of placing on a fishing hook small articles or 
packages, as the fisherman throws the line over the screen. 
A charge of five or ten cents is made to each person who 

Miscellaneous Activities 139 

buys a chance of catching a " fish/' This scheme also 
is capable of furnishing considerable amusement, while 
at the same time a good many nickels and dimes are 

Unclaimed Parcel Auction. Once each year the express 
companies hold an auction sale of unclaimed packages, 
the purchasers taking chances on what may be in them. 
At one of these sales one may get a very valuable article 
for twenty-five cents, or for a much greater sum he may 
get an article utterly useless to him. Following this 
custom, the children and their parents may contribute 
articles for an " auction " — anything from a pound of 
coffee to an old hat. A few choice packages should be 
offered, however, in order to maintain a keener interest in 
the auction sale. These articles should be wrapped so 
that the appearance of the packages will not indicate 
their contents. Then, at the proper time let the packages 
be sold at auction to the highest bidder. This device is 
especially profitable because no one has to make much 
of a sacrifice in contributing the articles, and the pur- 
chasers will have their money's worth of fun. Other 
devices of this kind can be thought out and employed 
as a means of making money. These will vary in different 
communities either to meet local conditions or in har- 
mony with the past experiences of the people. Ac- 
tivities of this sort are generally a minor part of the eve- 
ning's entertainment and usually come at the last, when 
they serve a very good social purpose. 

Pay Entertainments. The children will take great 
pleasure in rendering a program for entertainment to 
which a small entrance fee may be charged. Plays, 
or amateur theatricals, are perhaps the most appropriate 
to this purpose, but if a charge for admission is made, 

140 The Community Center 

the people will have a right to expect the best of which 
the school is capable. Therefore great care should be 
taken to make these programs just as entertaining as 
possible. If there are musicians within reach, they may- 
be called upon to furnish music. A girls' glee club, a 
mandolin club, or the like will add much to the enjoy- 
ment of the occasion. If a picture machine is available, 
a motion picture show will draw a crowd and net good 
returns. It may be that the entertainment committee 
can draw upon a near-by normal school or other higher 
institution of learning for an evening's entertainment or 
for some assistance in the way of music, readings, etc. ; 
or, if there is a suitable hall in the community, it may 
be possible and advisable to secure entertainers from the 
outside for the entire program. But if the expenses are 
considerable, the profits derived from the latter method 
are usually small and are sometimes a minus quantity. 


1. What should be the relation of the parent-teacher association 
to the community center? 

2. Explain how the United States Department of Agriculture is 
fostering the community center movement. 

3. Formulate a plan whereby each of the specialized activities 
of the community center may use the schoolhouse as a "center." 

4. Prepare a paper on "The Grange as a Community Center and 
What It Has Accomplished." 

5. Explain how you would interest adults in play and athletics. 

6. What special significance for Americanization has the evening 
school? What is the Federal Government now doing to encourage 
evening schools? What part can the school perform in the Govern- 
ment's program? 

7. How would you undertake to overcome any prejudice that 
your patrons might hold against entertaining for profit? 




Programs Should Be Suited to Community. In these 
two final chapters several programs and suggestions are 
offered for the consideration of teachers in planning for 
community center activities. They are selected as 
having in many cases proved most helpful to teachers 
in rural communities. To some teachers they may not 
be of any great suggestive value, but to the inexperienced 
they may be of assistance. In making up the programs 
for community center meetings, the teacher will do well 
to bear in mind always the past experiences of the people 
and of the school in this kind of exercises. For if he pro- 
vides a program too difficult or too strange, the people 
may fail to be sufficiently interested to desire a continu- 
ance of the community meetings ; on the other hand, the 
teacher must not dwell too long on entertainment and 
mere pastime exercises. In planning the community 
work and in making up the programs, let us bear in mind, 
then, the following suggestions : 

Ultimate Aim of the Community Center. If the growth 
of the community center movement has been normal 
and healthy, the people may possibly find as much recrea- 
tion in the discussion of a civic or an agricultural problem 
as they would in any other form of entertainment. The 


142 The Community Center 

reason why some of our country people have so little 
interest in improving their community and its institutions 
is that they have lost faith in the possibility of its being 
done. Many may have transferred their interests to 
the city and their immediate purpose may be to benefit 
themselves by going there; but if they can renew their 
faith in the country, they will find pleasure in improving 
their present situations. Make it possible for them to 
anchor their faith to the farm and to country life, and 
they may change their whole manner of thinking about 
living in the country. Hope lies in the possibilities of 
the community center. In the full realization of that 
hope they may find in time all the necessary means of 
wholesome recreation and of attractive country life. 

Initial Steps. Such a lofty aim for the community 
center can usually be approached only by the simplest 
beginnings. The people must first get the habit of meet- 
ing together in a neighborly manner in the enjoyment 
of spelling-bees, literary exercises, debates, sociables, etc. 
By such meetings they will have acquired certain com- 
munity interests and accumulated some social capital, 
which together constitute the social machinery necessary 
to community betterment. In time they will become 
ready to begin some constructive work in the community. 

Variation of Programs. By varying the programs of 
the community center meetings to include entertainment, 
culture, social enjoyment, and discussions of ways for 
community improvement, the skillful teacher by a proper 
use of social capital thus accumulated will be able to lead 
his community through the several stages and processes 
of community cooperation first in ways of amusement, 
social pleasure, etc., and finally in the art of community 

Entertainment Programs 143 

It is an ambitious program, yes. But no great problem 
was ever solved except by a correspondingly great effort. 
The rural life problem is a great problem. It involves 
the welfare of over fifty millions of our citizens. These 
fifty millions have been said to constitute the backbone 
of our nation. Teachers and other rural leaders through- 
out the country should look upon their opportunities to 
lead in so stupendous an undertaking as a rare privilege. 
The opportunity of the individual teacher will depend, 
of course, upon the intellectual, social, and moral resources 
of his immediate community and upon his own ability 
as a leader. 

Current Events a Prominent Feature of Every Pro- 
gram. Reference has been made to the custom of the 
French to gather once a week at the schoolhouses to re- 
ceive bulletins on the events of the World War. fn our 
own country we met at the schoolhouses to discuss Liberty 
Bonds, Red Cross work, and all the other activities in 
which we were engaged at home for the winning of the 
war. That was the easiest and the most effective method 
we had of keeping the people informed both of our success 
and of our needs at that time. We still have occasion 
to keep the people informed of the events of peace, which 
are perhaps as important as the events of war. 

Every program of the community center, therefore, 
should acquaint the people with the most important events 
happening in the state, in the nation, and perhaps in the 
world. We can think of nothing more effective in keep- 
ing abreast of the times. The custom will arouse a desire 
to read newspapers, magazines, farm bulletins, and books. 
It will also develop the reading habit in children, and 
they may in this way receive new light upon some of their 
textbooks. For example, it will enable the teacher to 

144 The Community Center 

present history in a new aspect and to select from news- 
papers, etc., practical problems in arithmetic. The chil- 
dren will acquire the habit of rapid reading, something 
which they seldom gain by reading textbooks alone. 
The teacher should guide the children in preparing " cur- 
rent events " for the community meeting. The privi- 
lege of doing this may be conditioned upon faithful work 
in general or upon excellence in English composition. 
This practice cannot be recommended too strongly. 
With proper safeguards it can be made most effective 
in increasing popular intelligence. 


Community meetings where self-provided entertain- 
ment is the dominant idea are at first among the best 
means rural people have for recreation. Such entertain- 
ments may be very simple, but they are likely to fit into 
the lives of the people and to provide them with wholesome 
recreation. At such entertainments as they devise under 
the leadership of their teacher, embarrassment is absent, 
formality gives way to sociability, and there is a certain 
degree of independence. They put themselves thereby 
into a mental condition for community growth, the ulti- 
mate aim of the community center movement. The 
programs which follow may be regarded as types of the 
kinds of entertainment that will be found most satis- 


Because of its popularity in many communities, one of 
the best programs for an entering wedge is a spelling- 
bee. It is entertaining because there is a lot of fxm and 

Entertainment Programs 145 

enjoyment in it. Upon the value of spelling and the 
spelling-bee you may, if you like, let Squire Hawkins in 
Edward Eggleston's Hoosier Schoolmaster be your adviser. 
Squire Hawkins had just been appointed by the teacher 
as " pronouncer " of the words for the spelling contest. 
In accepting this honor, he made the following remarks : 

Ladies and gentlemen, young men and maidens, raley I'm obleeged 
to Mr. Means for this honor. I feel in the inmost compartments of 
my animal spirits a most happifying sense of the success and futility 
of all my endeavors to sarve the people of Flat Creek deestrick, 
and the people of Tomkins township, in my weak way and manner. 

I feel as if I could be grandiloquent on this interesting occasion, 
but raley I must forego any such exertions. It is spelling you want. 
Spelling is the corner-stone, the ground, underlying subterfuge of a 
good eddication. I put the spellin'-book prepared by the great 
Daniel Webster alongside the Bible. I do, raley. I think I may 
put it ahead of the Bible. For if it warn't fer spellin'-books and sich 
occasions as these, where would the Bible be, I should like to know? 
The man who got up, who compounded this work of inextricable 
valoo was a benefactor to the whole human race or any other. 

Modern educators may object even to the suggestion 
of so much emphasis being given to oral spelling. " Spell- 
ing," they say, " should be learned incidentally for the 
most part in connection with other subjects." Perhaps 
it should be, but in actual practice it isn't always learned 
thoroughly in that way. The writer confesses to be " old 
fogey " enough to hold that in country schools, where 
the teacher has so little time for individual instruction 
in other subjects, no other method can quite take the 
place of oral spelling for at least part of the time. Spell- 
ing for " head marks " is about as good an incentive to 
thoroughness as has ever been devised. Anyway, wher- 
ever spelling is taught in this manner, the spelling-bee 

146 The Community Center 

will be a popular exercise for the community center. 
That is especially true in places where in their younger 
years the parents of the children enjoyed the spelling- 
bee as a social game which all could play and enjoy. 

Suggestions. (1) Occasionally the spelling-bee will 
furnish entertainment for the entire evening, but it js 
well upon most occasions to precede the spelling contest 
with music, readings, informal talks, or a social half 

(2) The selection of two captains who choose the 
spellers by turns has proved to be the most successful 
method of arranging the spellers in opposing teams. 
Sometimes two neighboring schools spell against each 
other; and sometimes the school children oppose the 
older members of the community. 

(3) There are two methods of disposing of a speller 
when he has missed a word : he either drops out of the 
contest, or goes over to the opposing team. For obvious 
reasons the former is the better method. 

(4) The greatest pains should be taken to pronounce 
the words plainly and to do absolute justice to each team. 

(5) Let the school challenge a neighboring school 
for an interschool spelling contest. If the challenge is 
accepted, the teacher will, in all probability, note an added 
interest among his pupils in preparing their spelling 
lessons ; and they and their parents will have a good time 
at the contest. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. Reading or dialogue, by the pupils 

4. Informal talks, by teacher and parents 

5. The contest, engaged in by all 

Entertainment Programs 147 

Ye Old Time School Days 

Suggestions. (1) This kind of program has proved to 
be one of the most popular among both young and old. 
Older folk like to relate the experiences of their youth, 
while children always like a story. Telling the story of 
earlier days is an effective means of connecting the par- 
ents with the schools of to-day. This program may serve 
to disillusion those people who think that the schools of 
fifty years ago are good enough for the children of to-day ; 
it may also give the children a better appreciation of the 
educational advantages they enjoy. 

(2) This is primarily an old folks' program, so place 
on it as many of the older patrons as can be interested 
in taking part. If the children participate, their parts 
should be in the nature of papers dealing with early life 
in the state, written upon such information as they can 
get from the textbook in state history and from local 
histories or records. 

(3) The teacher should take great pains to see person- 
ally as many of the older citizens of the community as 
possible and find out beforehand what parts they would 
prefer to take. 

(4) Advertise the program well. If possible, telephone 
those who are to appear on the program, a day or two 
before the meeting, thus following up personal or written 

(5) Extend to the patrons present every possible cour- 

(6) Be sure to arrange for some well-known songs. 
Organize the school into a chorus and have them practice 
the songs a week or so before the meeting. 

148 The Community Center 

A Program 

1. Songs, led by school choir 

2. Current events 

3. "The Old Schoolhouse" 

4. "Before the Time of Coal and Gas" 

5. "Birch Tea" 

6. "My Teacher" 

7. Song — " The Schoolhouse on the Hill " 

8. "The Days of Jeans, Linsey, and Boots" 

9. "Plays and Games" 

10. "Our Books" 

11. Wittin's " In School Days," recited by a pupil 

12. Songs 


History of the county. 

Old records, reports, and letters. 

State superintendent's biennial reports. 

Hart, How Our Grandfathers Lived. The Macmillan Company, 
New York. 

Calhoun, When Great Folks Were Little Folks. The Macmillan Com- 
pany, New York. 

Pratt, Stories of Colonial Children. Educational Publishing Com- 
pany, Boston. 

Eggleston, Hoosier School Boy. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 

Griffin, School Days of the Fifties. A. Flanagan & Company, Chicago. 

Bass, Stories of Pioneer Life. D. C. Heath & Company, New York. 

Illustrative pictures, photographs, post cards, etc. 

Columbus Day 

Suggestions. The anniversary of the discovery of 
America may be made a red letter day in the teaching 
of patriotism. Preparations for the program should be 
begun at least a month beforehand, so that the children 
may have opportunity to read and acquaint themselves 
with the history of Columbus' discovery. 

Entertainment Programs 149 

A Program 

1. Song, led by school choir 

2. Current events 

3. "Early Life of Columbus" 

4. "Columbus' Theory of the Earth as a Sphere" 

5. "What Columbus Was Really Trying to Do" 

6. "World Geography in Columbus' Time" (A map or globe 
should be used for demonstration) 

7. " Difficulties That Columbus Had in Raising Money to Make 
His Voyage" 

8. Song — "Red, White and Blue" 

9. "The Voyage of Columbus" 

10. "America before the Discovery by Columbus" 

11. "Subsequent Discoveries" 

12. "Results to the World of Columbus' Discovery" 

13. Song — "America" 


Irving, Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. 

See also encyclopedia, and texts on United States history. , 

Shaw, Discoverers and Explorers. American Book Company, 

New York. 
McMurry, Pioneers on Land and Sea. Macmillan Company, New 

Moores, The Story of Christopher Columbus. Houghton Mifflin 

Company, Boston. 
Stapley, Christopher Columbus. Macmillan Company, New York. 


" Debatable *' Questions. Next to the spelling-bee 
and "Ye Old Time School Days/' the debate in many 
places will be among the most popular of the community 
center exercises ; for in times past country folk, especially 
the men, greatly enjoyed debating all sorts of questions. 
The questions frequently selected for debate in the country 
school " literaries '' of fifty or more years ago were some- 

150 "^ The Community Center 

what after the models set up by the " scholastic " debaters 
of the Middle Ages. One of the most popular discus- 
sions of these school " literaries " was the question of 
whether the earth is flat or round. Such questions were, 
of course, selected more for amusement than for any 
other reason. 

In the selection of subjects for debate upon such occa- 
sions we have an example of early " government control " 
in the following authentic account : 

In the year 1828, a club of young students at Wellsville, Ohio, 
arranged to debate the question of railroads, then just coming into 
notice. When they asked the school board for the use of the school- 
house, they received the following remarkable reply which is said to 
be preserved to this day by Alexander Wells, an aged citizen of that 

"You are welcome to the use of the schoolhouse to debate all 
proper questions in, but such things as railroads and telegraphs are 
impossible and rank infidelity. There is nothing in the Word of God 
about them. If God had designed that his intelligent creatures 
should travel at the frightful speed of fifteen miles an hour by steam, 
He would clearly have foretold it through His holy prophets. It is a 
device of Satan to lead immortal souls down to hell." 

Selecting Questions for Debate. If the once popular 
kind of question be demanded by the people and if no 
official interference be forthcoming, then it would be well 
for the time being to put aside one's better judgment and 
let the people exercise their debating powers after their 
own will. In due time they will seek better ways of 
exercising these powers. When they have become inter- 
ested in the reading of newspapers, magazines, books, 
farm magazines, etc., and when they have outlined, a 
campaign for community improvement in some of its 
phases, they will then be ready to debate questions simi- 
lar to the following : 

Entertainment Programs 151 

(1) Resolved, That the state of should have an effective com- 
pulsory school attendance law. 

(2) Resolved, That every state in the Union should grant women 
equal suffrage with men. 

(3) Resolved, That there should be an educational qualification for 

(4) Resolved, That the state of should abolish capital punish- 

(5) Resolved, That the President of the United States should be 
elected for a single term of six years. 

(6) Resolved, That boys and girls have a better chance of success 
in the country than in the city. 

These are suggestive of the kind of question that may- 
be debated both for recreation and for creating better 
public opinion on many phases of government, current 
events, and rural life. Such debates will cause many to 
read for information, who have not read much, perhaps, 
for years. The children, as well as their parents, will then 
find use for a carefully selected school library. The 
people will have for conversation many subjects besides 
the weather and their neighbors. 

Suggestions. (1) The debate may be made a feature 
of several programs, depending largely upon the fondness 
of the people for debating. 

(2) The question for debate should be stated plainly, 
in order to avoid any quibbling over the meaning of 
words or the phrasing of sentences. 

(3) The conditions governing the debate should be 
clearly understood by all. Not more than two or three 
debaters should be arranged on each side of the question. 
The time allowed each contestant should be fixed before- 
hand and rigidly adhered to: ten to fifteen minutes 
for each of the debaters, and three to five minutes for the 
first speaker on the affirmative to sum up and close the 

152 The Community Center 

debate. Three judges should be appointed to determine 
the winners in the contest. The debating teams should 
be as evenly matched as possible. 

(4) It will prove a wholesome stimulus to community 
center meetings, if two neighboring schools challenge 
each other for a debating contest; for in that case each 
side chooses its best debaters to maintain the reputation 
of the school, and each debater has an incentive to do his 
best at home in order to represent his school in the inter- 
school contest. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. Contest in addition of numbers, by several pupils at the black- 

4. Dialogue, by a group of pupils 

5. Songs 

6. Debate 

7. Songs and a social half hour 

Amateur Theatricals 

The success of amateur theatricals will of course depend 
largely upon the teacher's ability to organize and conduct 
them. His greatest difficulty will likely be that of making 
up his mind to undertake such a program. He can be 
sure of the following conditions, however: (1) that he 
can probably do this sort of thing better than any one else 
in his community (if not, he can get that other person 
to assist him) ; (2) that the pupils will willingly and 
zealously help him ; (3) that the parents will enjoy this 
program; and (4) that many another teacher has suc- 
ceeded admirably with amateur theatricals in rural 

Entertainment Programs 153 

How One Teacher Succeeded. Let us relate how one 
teacher did succeed with dramatization. She was just 
an average teacher of an average rural school. She did, 
however, have more than average initiative and deter- 
mination. Her program was as follows: 

1. Song — "My Old Kentucky Home" 

2. "The Story of an Indian Girl," by a pupil 

3. "Who Are the Indians?" by a citizen 

4. "Indians," by the district supervisor 

5. "Hiawatha," dramatized by 15 pupils 

6. Song — "America" 

The steps which this teacher took in the preparation of 
her program may perhaps be interesting and suggestive 
to those who are undertaking a similar one. 

As to the play, "Hiawatha," I told the boys that this was their 
program. I do not think I ever saw children enjoy anything so 
much as preparing for this play. The boys brought in two white 
oak "trees" that would just stand upright in the house. These they 
placed on either side of the stage. They built a wigwam of poles 
covered with coffee sacks. On the floor they spread branches of 

The girls dressed a large doll as an Indian baby, strapped it to a 
board, and tied it to one of the trees. They used this in the first scene 
to represent Hiawatha's babyhood. 

The "chief" wore a plaid blanket and a cap made from paper 
sacks, trimmed with turkey feathers. The other boys wore suits 
made of coffee sacks trimmed with bright fringe and caps trimmed 
with feathers. 

Some of the girls trimmed brown dresses with bright fringe. One 
wore a black skirt with red sweater trimmed with red fringe. One 
wore a loose white dress trimmed with bright cloth. All wore their 
hair braided and trimmed with feathers. And each wore several 
strands of beads, some of these made of red crepe paper. They 
painted their faces with damp crepe paper and powdered this with 
browned flour. This made them have a complexion like an Indian. 

154 The Community Center 

The boys had three Indian songs and two Indian dances, in which 
they sang and danced well. 

There were about eighty-five persons present, including almost 
all of the parents. Some of the parents said, "We are surprised that 
the children could do so well." 

Begin with Simple Programs. Note how the teacher 
appropriated materials found about the school and in 
the homes of the children. There was no expense ; every 
necessary material was at hand. The program was 
prepared simply, but skillfully executed. That is what 
the parents like. And if one had seen the joy these 
children manifested in preparing and rendering this dram- 
atization, he would be convinced that failure to help the 
children in this kind of play deprives them of one of the 
greatest pleasures of childhood. 

Use Familiar Subject Matter. We should remember 
that we are entertaining country folk. Use the literary 
inheritances of the race for dramatization, but not those 
in which the theme or the setting is foreign to the experi- 
ences of country people. For example, every one knows 
something about, and is interested in, Indians. There- 
fore the dramatization of Hiawatha was enjoyed and 
understood, although many in the audience had never 
read or even heard of the poem. 

Stage Decorations. In graded or consolidated schools, 
of course, more elaborate programs can be staged, and 
more difficult subjects may be selected ; but in the one- 
room school we have to make the best we can out of a 
limited space. Even then, however, we may have at 
least the appearance of a stage with something of the 
air of the theater. For the stage, a large packing-box 
may serve very well ; this may be painted or draped in 
any suitable color. Tin lamps with reflectors may be 

Entertainment Programs 155 

used for footlights. One or two strong lights may be 
placed out of sight of the audience, on either side of the 
stage. Sheets of colored glass may be used to cast any 
necessary color effects. 

In the school or in the community, the teacher can 
generally find some one who has sufficient genius to paint 
and arrange the necessary scenery. It may be painted 
on sheets of calico stretched across a wooden frame. If 
that seems to be too difficult of accomplishment, then the 
stage can be decorated in other ways so as to make it 
presentable. Drop-curtains or side-curtains may be 
arranged without great difficulty. Side-curtains are 

Costuming. The costuming and make-up must depend 
upon the ingenuity of the teacher, her pupils, and helpful 
members of the community. Ordinarily, the nature of 
the play or tableaux will suggest proper costuming and 
make-up. However, a good play may be staged success- 
fully with very little of either, for the people will not be 
familiar with these devices. One should not allow a 
lack of costuming and make-up to deter him in arranging 
an entertainment. 

Selecting Plays and Subjects. In selecting plays or 
subjects for tableaux the greatest care should be exer- 
cised. They should not be too difficult for the children 
to perform, nor too foreign to the experiences of the 
people. At first the simplest subjects should be selected ; 
later, more difficult ones can be undertaken. The text- 
books in reading will contain a good many suitable selec- 
tions. At first, some of these dramatizations may be 
tried out with the children alone ; later they can be per- 
formed at one of the community meetings. History 
furnishes a lot of suitable material for tableaux. The 

156 The Community Center 

landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, Pocahontas, George 
Washington at Valley Forge, and other subjects will 
entertain and at the same time bring out vividly many 
of the lessons of national history. 

A Historical Pageant. Not long ago a historical pag- 
eant was presented by the pupils of a rural consolidated 
and high school in celebration of the birthdays of Wash- 
ington and Lincoln. The program was so well received 
that the school was persuaded to render it again a week 
later. It took considerable time and effort on the part 
of the teachers to prepare for this pageant ; costumes had 
to be made, scenery had to be arranged, the pupils had 
to be drilled; but all this work was closely correlated 
with the class work in United States history. The 
episodes in the pageant were as follows, several patriotic 
songs being distributed throughout the program : 

(1) Scenes from "Hiawatha" — the wooing, the visit to the home 
of the arrowmaker, the wedding feast, the famine, and the death 
of Minnehaha. 

(2) The scene where Washington's father discovers that his 
favorite cherry tree has been cut down. George enters with his 
hatchet, confesses, and receives his father's commendations for being 

(3) Washington as surveyor, with his Indian guides. 

(4) The wedding of Washington and Martha Custis. 

(5) The first flag, representing Betty Ross as showing Washing- 
ton, George Ross, and Robert Morris the flag she had made. 

(6) Washington at Valley Forge. 

(7) The surrender of Cornwallis. 

(8) Washington taking the oath of office as President. 

(9) Scenes from the life of Lincoln presented in the same way. 

This historical pageant was presented in the auditorium 
of the school by a group of country boys and girls to an 
assemblage consisting mainly of farmers and their wives. 

Entertainment Programs 157 

It was a real pleasure for the audience and the finest 
kind of experience for the actor pupils. 

Subjects for Tableaux. Local history furnishes many- 
good subjects for tableaux. Literature, also, abounds 
in subjects : Dickens' Christmas Carol, Tennyson's Dream 
of Fair Women, etc. Mary Hazleton Wade has prepared 
a series of plays, Little Folks^ Plays of American Heroes,^ 
which are especially helpful to teachers in producing 
historic scenes. " George Washington," " Benjamin 
Franklin," and " Ulysses S. Grant " are among titles 
of plays published. 

Holiday Plays for Home, School, and Settlement, by Vir- 
ginia Olcott, and Plays, Pantomimes, and Tableaux for 
Children, by Nora Archibald Smith, are among the new 
books prepared especially to aid teachers in school theat- 

The Farm Pageant. A farm pageant showing the 
methods of agriculture in the early days makes a very 
interesting program. Such a pageant could be made 
to show the development of agriculture — implements, 
methods, results, etc. — in this country, or the develop- 
ment and methods of agriculture in different countries. 
An entertainment of this character would be very appro- 
priate for " Old Home Week Celebration " or for an 
evening entertainment at a farmers' institute. The boys' 
and girls' agricultural clubs would take great pleasure 
in dramatizing the story of corn culture by the Indians, 
the tale of Sir Walter Raleigh's learning to smoke tobacco, 
or the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney. The 
audience will be surprised by the zeal and the ability 
displayed by the children in these plays. 

* See bibliography, page 209. 

158 The Community Center 

Halloween Social 

Halloween heretofore has been an occasion observed 
more in the city than in the country. The writer remem- 
bers that he was seventeen years of age before he had the 
privilege of understanding the hidden meaning of this 
celebration and then it was in a college town. But there 
is every reason why rural school children should have 
their share of the fun. The teacher will find them apt 
candidates while he is initiating them into the " secret 
rites of this ancient order." 

A Halloween Frolic. The following account of a Hallow- 
een frolic was taken from The Country Gentleman: ^ 

The success of all Halloween frolics depends upon the mystery 
which shrouds the arrangements. Last year the boys of a country 
neighborhood noted for its entertainments were delighted to receive 
unique invitations from the girls for a Halloween party. The invita- 
tions are worthy of description. They were made of stiff black 
paper in the form of witches' hats. The date was written on the 
peaks, and the invitation on the rims. White ink was used. These 
were mailed in small square boxes, with the address on a tag, just as 
milliners deliver their hats. 

Twenty boys found these missives in their mail boxes and great 
consultations were rife as to suitable costumes. Finally they simply 
masked, and sallied forth for "Linton's Barn" at the appointed hour. 
As they entered the dark lane a tall figure, all in white, with a brightly 
gleaming jack-o'-lantern head, rose before them. This guide silently 
led them to the barn doors. These glided open, to reveal a double 
line of ghosts, to whom the guide nodded so violently that her head 
fell off and broke at their very feet. At this signal each ghost darted 
forward and seized a guest, blindfolding him, whirling him three times 
round and leading him away. 

As the line of twenty couples marched up and down, weird music 
went on ahead of them, and each ghost entertained her captive with 
tales of mystery. 

»Oct. 18, 1913 

Entertainment Programs 159 

After a half hour of this and when the boys were completely be- 
wildered, a loud voice called **Halt!" and ice-cold fingers removed 
the blindfolds and each boy was turned round three or four times. 

They were in a place which seemed entirely strange to them, al- 
though they knew every farm for miles around. But this dusky 
cave, with only jack-o'-lantern lights, with a witch's caldron bubbling 
in front of it, and six black-hatted witches dancing round the witch 
fire, was bewildering. The sound of rushing waters and of the wind 
among high trees added to the perfection of the setting for the scene. 
Finally an automobile light gleamed among the trees, and as the whole 
place became bright they found that they were in a gravel pit where 
half of them had worked the week before. Pine boughs, jack-o'- 
lanterns, camp fires, and rustic stage showed that the girls' fathers 
had been silent partners in the affair. 

Another car glided up, and then another, and, as if by magic, 
trestles and boards were discovered and long tables were forthcom- 
ing. Witches, ghosts, and guests flew to and fro, automobiles un- 
loaded great hampers of food, and a father and a mother stayed to 
make the supper and chaperon the crowd. Sandwiches, meats, 
salads, cakes, pies, fruit — all loaded the table ; and from the camp 
fire came hot baked beans and potatoes, sizzling ham and steaming 
coffee. The table decorations were green paper snakes, paper pump- 
kins (candy filled), and cookies in the shape of cats and witch hats. 

After a long hour's fun at the table, ghosts and witches changed 
into mere girls, the crowd was divided into four groups of ten, and 
each group was allowed ten minutes to prepare for a "stunt" to be 
given on the stage. Driftwood was piled on the fires, and no better 
footlights were needed for the ridiculous program that followed. 
One group gave charades, taking words appropriate to Halloween, 
and another group gave an impromptu one-act play, each actor 
making up his own lines. 

Just at midnight five more well-trained fathers appeared, and as 
the six autoloads of youngsters sped homeward, the boys decided 
that it would take them a year to get up a party for the girls equal to 
the one just enjoyed. 

Let the Children Have a Good Time. Not every teacher 
will be able to carry out such an elaborate program as 
this. He may not have a suitable barn or automobiles 

160 The Community Center 

or such capable assistants. Perhaps this program will 
not fit into the lives of very many communities. Never-* 
theless, it is possible for any teacher to provide both the 
children and their parents with an enjoyable evening cele- 
brating Halloween. Dismiss at this time the " constitu- 
tion and by-laws " in favor of a good time. No formal 
program is suggested for this social affair. It may be 
best, however, to have a brief program made up of songs, 
or of such readings as James Whitcomb Riley's " When 
the Frost Is on the Pumpkin," Helen Hunt Jackson's 
" October's Bright Blue Weather," and Washington 
Irving's " Legend of Sleepy Hollow." 

Harvest Home Day 

This occasion is usually celebrated in Thanksgiving 
week. In the South it may be an all-day picnic, with 
games, athletic contests, and a community basket dinner. 
Those who have moved into other communities are invited 
to return for another enjoyable time. It may be made 
the occasion of a school fair or agricultural exhibit. It 
ought to be made a joyful annual gathering of the com- 
munity and its friends. If the meeting is held at the 
schoolhouse and a program is to be rendered, the following 
may be suggestive : 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Devotional exercises 

3. Current events 

4. Reading of the President's Thanksgiving Proclamation 

5. Recitation — "Heap High the Golden Grain" 

6. Paper — "Origin of Thanksgiving Day" 

7. Songs, or selections by band or orchestra 

8. "The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers" 

9. Paper — "What I Am Thankful For" 
10. Farm pageant or tableaux 

Entertainment Programs 161 

Christmas Program 

Suggestions. (1) Most of the school journals now offer 
suggestions and programs for the observance of Christmas, 
so that it is hardly necessary to make mention of them 
here. This program should, however, impress the chil- 
dren with the proper spirit of Christmas giving. The 
phrase " proper spirit '* is used because we seem to have 
departed from it in our celebration of Christmas Day; 
that is, we strive to outgive one another, a practice which 
tends to embarrass the less fortunate. This is an excellent 
occasion for setting right the minds of the rising genera- 

(2) In rural communities the Christmas tree and a 
Santa Claus will prove to be the best means of entertain- 
ment. Arrangements should be made, however, whereby 
every child may receive a present from the tree. The 
teacher may be able to interest some of the citizens to 
contribute a small sum to carry out this fundamental 
principle of impartiality. In former days teachers had 
a custom of " treating " the scholars, which was for 
the latter a very important part of the school program. 
As we remember those days, the custom was a good one, 
and for the children it oftentimes furnished a lot of enter- 
tainment in itself. There is no reason, so far as we can 
see, why the custom might not be revived with some 
advantages, for in some country districts, where the 
children have but little merriment to brighten the work 
of learning and reciting lessons, a frolic of this kind, that 
is, the Christmas tree, the Santa Claus, and the teacher's 
treat of candy, makes a red letter day or evening for the 
children. That in itself is all the program that is neces- 
sary for a general good time. 

162 The Community Center 

(3) If a more formal program is desired, it should be 
made up of appropriate readings, songs, and informal talks 
by the teacher and the parents. 

A Program 

1. Song — "All Hail the Power" 

2. Devotional exercises 

3. Current events 

4. "What the Birth of Christ Has Meant to the World" 

5. Select reading 

6. "The Meaning of Christmas" 

7. Declamation 

8. Song — "Come, Thou Almighty King" 

9. "Christmas in Other Countries" 

10. Select reading 

11. "The Meaning of Christmas Giving" 

12. Ringing of Santa Claus' sleigh bells 


Consult any encyclopedia and such other books as are available. 

Mabie, The Book of Christmas. Macmillan Company, New York. 

Dickens, Christmas Stories. American Book Company, New York. 

Moore, The Night before Christmas. 

Schauflfier, Christmas. Moffat, Yard & Company, New York. 

Smith and Hazeltine, Christmas in Legend and Story. Lothrop, Lee & 
Shepard, Boston. 

Dickinson, Christmas Stories and Legends. Doubleday, Page & Com- 
pany, Garden City, N. Y. 

Read Bible story of Christmas, St. Luke, II, 6-20. 

Illustrate with any pictures available in the school or the community. 

Music Program 

Suggestions. (1) One may be unable to read music 
and yet be able to provide a good program, through the 
use of familiar songs. Even if one does not sing, he may 
take courage from the fact that some of our very best 

Entertainment Programs 163 

choral directors sing very indifferently. If, however, 
the teacher does not feel capable of preparing and direct- 
ing a music program, he can very likely find some one 
in the community to assist him. 

(2) The old-time singing school, like the spelling-bee, 
was formerly very popular among country people. In 
days gone by the singing master was a familiar and 
important character in a great many rural communities, 
and the country is probably the loser by his disappear- 
ance. A few years ago one of these singing masters went 
into a certain county and organized a number of singing 
schools. He traveled from one to the other, after the 
custom of the " circuit rider," living among the people of 
the several neighborhoods. At the close of his series of 
lessons, he held a " grand musical concert " at the most 
central school. Three thousand people assembled and 
sang together the songs he had taught them. The teacher 
may not be able to duplicate a feat of this sort ; but each 
teacher can organize a singing school or chorus, and the 
spirit and the pleasure of the community center meetings 
will be greatly enhanced thereby. If, perchance, there 
is a teacher with sufficient musical ability, a union of 
all the schools of a township or of a county could be ef- 
fected. Such a gathering of singers would make the com- 
mon school commencement exercises a most happy occa- 
sion ; it could also be made an annual reunion of the sev- 
eral community centers. 

An Interesting Experiment. In order to show how 
easy it is to interest people in singing, we will relate an 
experiment which was made by an instructor in choral 
music a few years ago at a state university summer school. 
He had noticed the throngs of workmen and other towns- 
people who, with no apparent purpose, paraded the streets 

164 The Community Center 

on a Saturday night; so he conceived the idea of se- 
lecting a central place and throwing the words of 
patriotic songs on to a canvas by means of a lantern, 
thus attracting the passing crowd. He made no public 

At 7 : 30 P.M. he appeared with two interested col- 
leagues in the court house, square and began to arrange 
the canvas and the lantern. These movements attracted 
a great many people from sheer curiosity, so that by half 
past eight a large crowd had assembled, wondering what 
was going to happen. Then he explained his purpose 
and invited all to join in the singing. First " The Star- 
Spangled Banner " was thrown on to the canvas. The 
crowd was a bit timid about singing this selection, doubt- 
less because they were not very familiar with the words, 
or perhaps because it is a very difficult song. Next 
" America " appeared, and the crowd spontaneously 
began a clapping of hands. They drew nearer the canvas 
and sang this song with much enthusiasm. Then fol- 
lowed " Nearer, My God, to Thee," " My Old Kentucky 
Home," " Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean," and other 
familiar hymns and folk songs, ten in all. Near the close, 
the crowd asked to sing " America " again. The singing 
closed with " Home, Sweet Home." 

After the first song all timidity seemed to disappear, 
and the singing improved as the program progressed until 
at the close all were enthusiastic singers. One elderly 
gentleman was heard to remark that he had not sung so 
much in a year. 

A notable feature of the experiment was the behavior 
of the forty-odd boys who happened to be attracted into 
the crowd. Without directions from any one they all 
sat on the ground in a group just in front of the canvas. 

Entertainment Programs 165 

They were very orderly and joined heartily in the singing 
of every selection that appeared. 

At the close of the program an Italian boy fifteen years 
of age came forward and asked how he might secure a 
copy of '' Home, Sweet Home/' saying that he liked 
that. A song book containing this selection was given 
him. It was estimated that at least a thousand people 
dropped aside from among the passers-by and joined in 
this impromptu affair. The experiment demonstrated 
some of the possibilities of community singing. Its 
distinguishing features were its impromptu character 
and the manner in which the crowd was held together 
without the aid of musical instruments. This was done 
by pointing to the words with a long pole, which also served 
to make plain to the crowd the rhythm of the songs. 

The illustrations just given show that people have an 
innate love of music. Under a leader it is easy to interest 
them in community singing. The power of community 
singing upon community life and its wholesome effects 
on individuals are well known. If a community sing 
together, they will be more likely to work together on any 
plan of community improvement. 

(3) It may not be possible to plan music entertain- 
ments upon so large a scale as has been indicated, but 
nevertheless let them be undertaken upon a scale suited 
to prevailing conditions. It is at least possible to organize 
the school as a chorus. It may be possible to organize 
a girls' glee club or a boys' mandolin club. Let singing 
be a prominent part of every meeting and, if possible, 
arrange a few programs in which music predominates. 
The pupils will be ever ready to join whole-heartedly 
in any such undertaking. For suitable material, consult 
the bibliography. 

166 The Community Center 

Stories of Great Men 

Suggestions. (1) One of the best ways of teaching 
history is by the study of biography. It is also one of 
the most effective means of inspiring the young to per- 
sonal ambition and to high moral principles. A program 
made up of characteristic stories about great men will appeal 
to both young and old and will be instructive as well as 
entertaining. Parts of several programs or occasionally a 
whole evening may be devoted to biographical story-telling. 

(2) The teacher should assist those who may be assigned 
places on this program in selecting the most appropriate 
characters as subjects and the best stories about their 
lives and achievements. The biographies of Lincoln, 
Washington, Joan of Arc, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, 
and hosts of the world's great men and women will furnish 
abundant material. This program ought to encourage 
the reading of books, and this in turn ought to point the 
need for a larger and more carefully selected library than 
is found in the average rural school. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "A Story about George Washington" 

4. "The Funny Side of Abraham Lincoln" 

5. "Personal Recollections of a Great Man," by a citizen 

6. "General Lee, the Man" 

7. "A Story about My Favorite Hero in History," by a pupil 

8. "Woodrow Wilson, the Scholar-Statesman" 

9. "Longfellow, the Child's Friend" 
10. Songs 


Wade, Leaders to Liberty. Little, Brown & Company, Boston. 
Quiller-Couch, The Roll Call of Honor. Thomas Nelson & Sons, 
New York City. 

Entertainment Programs 167 

Gilbert, More Than Conquerors. The Century Company, New York 

Parkman, Fighters for Peace. The Century Company, New York. 
Parkman, Heroes of Today. The Century Company, New York. 
Perry, Four American Inventors. American Book Company, New 

Kingsley, Four American Explorers. American Book Company, 

New York. 
Hawthorne, Biographical Stories. Houghton Mifflin Company, 

Williams, Som£ Successful Americans. Ginn & Company, Boston. 
Whitcomb, Heroes in History. Charles E. Merrill Company, New 


Travel Program 

Suggestions. (1) We should bear in mind that in 
many rural communities few of the inhabitants have 
traveled much. Some of the older folk may never have 
been far from their immediate community. Children 
study their geographies and read about many interesting 
places and things, but they may have very meager con- 
ceptions about them after all. A program on travel, 
therefore, will prove to be both entertaining and instruc- 

(2) A travelogue with lantern slides is very illuminating 
if arrangements for it can be made. Albums, pictures, 
and post cards may be used with good effect. The 
National Geographic Magazine will furnish abundant 
material. Moving picture machines are also available 
at comparatively small cost. 

(3) The best travel experiences of the community 
should be drawn upon for this program. Perhaps one 
or more children have made a visit to a distant county 
or city, or even abroad. There may be some children 
or adults who have come from a foreign country; if so, 

168 The Community Center 

they may make a valuable contribution to the pro- 
gram. By the use of maps, charts, etc., the program 
can be made a valuable geography lesson for the whole 

(4) If the travel experiences of the community are 
meager, then selected readings from books of travel 
accompanied by maps may help greatly in the evening's 

(5) For small groups fairly well informed in geography, 
several travel games are suitable. One of the best known 
is as follows : The players are seated in a circle, and one 
calls the name of a country. The player next to him on 
the left must then name a country, either with the first 
or the last letter of the word just given. Each player 
to the left does the same in succession. A definite time, 
say twenty seconds, should be fixed in which each player 
shall pronounce the next word. Anybody who fails to 
give a word within the time limit fixed drops out of the 
game. If the last letter of the word pronounced is to 
be the initial letter of the next word, the procedure should 
be as follows : *' England " is first pronounced. The 
next player says " Denmark.'' If the third player 
cannot recall a country whose name begins with " K," 
he may say " Kokomo," since he may use any geographi- 
cal name, be it country, river, island, or town. The 
game stops when nobody can find a name with which to 
continue. A similar game can be played using the cities 
or towns of the United States. 

A simpler game is called "Alphabet." The leader 
announces a geographic name. Each player must an- 
nounce other geographic names beginning with the same 
letter. For example, suppose the leader says " Balti- 
more." Then we might have in succession: Baltimore, 

Entertainment Programs 169 

Buffalo, Brunswick, Baden, Bowling Green, etc., observ- 
ing the same rules as in the other game. 

The teacher will have to determine what is the best 
program in view of the local conditions. The following 
may be suggestive : 

A Program . 

1. Song, led by school choir 

2. Current events 

3. "Where I Spent My Vacation," by a pupil 

4. "My First Visit to a Great City," by a pupil or citizen 

5. "Where I Would Go if I Should Follow the Stream That 
Runs Nearest the Schoolhouse" 

6. "An Ocean Voyage," by a citizen or pupil 

7. Song 

8. "How to Travel by Reading Books on Travel" 

9. "Near-by Places of Interest to the Traveler" 

10. "Five Interesting Places in the United States," by a pupil 

11. Song 


Carpenter, Geographical Readers (series). American Book Com- 
pany, New York. 
Defoe, Robinson Crusoe. American Book Company, New York. 
Ballou, Footprints of Travel. Ginn & Company, Boston. 
Winslow, Earth and Its People. D. C. Heath & Company, New York. 
Bowman, South America. Rand, McNally & Company, Chicago. 
Huntington, Asia. Rand, McNally & Company, Chicago. 
Starr, Strange Peoples. D. C. Heath & Company, New York. 

Motion Pictures 

Suggestions. Only recently have motion pictures 
made their way into rural districts ; heretofore the cities 
and towns have seemed to enjoy the monopoly of this 
kind of entertainment. Some of the motion picture 
companies are now producing a good quality of pictures 

170 The Community Center 

designed especially for school entertainments and for 
educational purposes. It is now possible to produce the 
best motion pictures on the market in the one-teacher 
rural school and at reasonable expense. 

Homewood's Motion Pictures. Mr. Warren Dunham 
Foster has perhaps made as careful study of the motion 
picture for its educative and entertaining values as has 
any one else up to this time. In an address before a 
convention of the National Education Association in 
New York City, Mr. Foster made the following state- 

The motion picture used for community service brought Home- 
wood people to the centers and there gave them something very much 
worth while. Homewood's motion pictures competed successfully 
with commercial theaters, yet presented nothing not in harmony 
with the dignity of the school and the furtherance of its broad edu- 
cational purposes. Homewood learned that in this city of New York 
alone one half million people see motion pictures every day, while 
only one fifth more persons attend the formal schools from kinder- 
garten through the university. Homewood found that the best 
figures obtainable indicate that one person in five in the United States 
sees motion pictures every day. Homewood remembered that only 
one person in five in the United States is supposed to attend the public 
school system. Twenty million people see motion pictures every 
day; 21,102,113 were enrolled in all educational institutions in 1912. 
Just plain folks discover that the motion picture takes everywhere 
to them, that it destroys for them the otherwise galling limitations 
of time, space, and circumstance. It gives them not pictures but 
actual transcripts of life as it is and life as they want it to be. Do 
we wonder that overnight the motion picture has become a great 
teacher? Or perhaps the great teacher? That we hail it as the 
greatest aid to education since the invention of printing? 

In Homewood nothing was wrong with the motion picture. Some- 
thing was decidedly wrong with the hands that had seized upon it. 
The Homewood school had left the motion picture to the commercial 
amusement interests instead of putting it to work for educational 
and social ends. At last, however, the school made its alliance with 

Entertainment Programs 171 

the motion picture. It had found that schools, women's clubs, 
and churches everywhere are presenting recreational motion pictures 
for community service. In its own community centers and schools, 
Homewood is now using the best in drama, literature, science, and 
travel. Young folks and old come to be entertained — as is their 
right — and stay to be entertained and educated. Homewood 
finds that good motion pictures cost money, but that its people are 
more than willing to pay for what they get. 

The Motion Picture in Country Schoolhouses. Cer- 
tain motion picture companies are now giving especial 
attention to motion pictures for rural and village com- 
munities. A special kind of film is being manufactured 
which is non-inflammable; with this improvement the 
machine can be set up and used in any schoolhouse in 
the land without danger from fire. The whole outfit, 
including the machine, the canvas, and an acetylene gas 
tank can be purchased for something over two hundred 
dollars. The gas tank can be refilled at a cost of one 
dollar and will last for twenty " shows,'' making the 
cost of gas five cents for each night. Films can be rented 
at a comparatively small cost and they can be exchanged 
at any time for new films. 

Of course, not many one-teacher schools could afford 
even this small expense. Nevertheless, there are county 
superintendents, district supervisors, county and district 
agricultural agents, any of whom may serve as a coordi- 
nating agency to provide motion picture shows, say, once 
a month, for each of the schools within his territory. 
These motion picture machines can be purchased on the 
installment plan, so that a small admission fee of ten or 
fifteen cents will keep up the monthly payments and pay 
the rental on the films used. 

The Motion Picture as Teacher. On the " picture 
show nights " larger numbers will usually be present than 

172 The Community Center 

at any other meetings. It is important, however, that 
the motion picture programs shall vary so as to appeal 
as far as possible to every member of the community. 
The people may become weary of too much information, 
especially the boys and girls; while the adults may be- 
come weary of too much comedy. A very good plan is 
to have three films, one of them comedy, and the other 
two of an informational nature. Children as well as 
adults like travelogues, literary productions with the 
story prominent, and films dealing with the lives and 
habits of birds and other animals. If properly conducted, 
the motion picture can be made instructive as well as 
entertaining. People who will not read a book or a bulle- 
tin will look understandingly at a picture with the mini- 
mum of effort. A great many observers have testified to 
the fact that persons who have never found the best fic- 
tion entertaining do really get a fair appreciation of the 
same subject matter from the screen. The writer made 
an interesting observation some time ago bearing on this 
point. He happened to be seated at the same table in 
a cafe with two traveling salesmen, one of whom the night 
before had seen on the screen Hugo's Les Miserahles. 
He told his companion the whole story, and with remark- 
ably accurate details. Their conversation revealed the 
fact that neither of them had ever read the book or had 
even known of the book's existence. After the story 
was told, the one who had rehearsed it said, " Man, if 
the schools had given us that sort of thing when we were 
kids, we sure would have learned something, don't you 
think? " That remark contains a good suggestion, both 
from the standpoint of the community center and of the 
more formal school work. Experience has proved beyond 
question, we believe, that the teaching of literature, 

Entertainment Programs 173 

geography, and science can be made very much more 
attractive and effective when the classroom instruction is 
supplemented by the motion picture. And it is not too 
much to expect that a great many adults who through 
no fault of their own failed in their earlier days to get a 
fair knowledge and appreciation of these subjects, may 
yet do so by means of the motion picture. 

The Indian 

Suggestions. (1) The Indian character is interesting 
both to children and to adults; interesting to children 
mainly because the stage of his development is so akin 
to that of the growing boy or girl, and to adults because 
he figures so prominently in American history and litera- 
ture. At any rate, a program on Indians generally proves 
to be popular ; it can also be made educative. 

(2) If possible, this program should be rendered largely 
by citizens who possess some intimate knowledge of In- 
dians. Some of the older citizens may have had some 
personal experiences with them in the earlier days. A 
good many of the children will have seen Indians with the 
circus. On the other hand, the program may have a 
local bearing upon the pioneer days of the early settlers. 

(3) Boys will take great delight in wearing their best 
Indian costumes for such programs. Those who do not 
have Indian costumes can easily prepare them from coffee 
sacks, blankets, feathers, etc., without expense. 

(4) This program may be made an incentive to reading 
books of Indian stories in the school library. The teacher 
should take plenty of time in preparation. The drama- 
tization of realistic stories about Indians will probably 
prove to be the best entertainment. It is one program 

174 The Community Center 

in which the children will surely be interested if they are 
allowed to have their bows and arrows and such other 
Indian relics as they may possess or as they may devise 
for this occasion. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "Who Are the Indians?" 

4. Indian war dance. (To be taught the children for this occa- 

5. "Indian Traits, Good and Bad" 

6. Dramatization of an Indian story 


The Childhood of Hiawatha, a dramatization of Hiawatha, by Mrs. 
Bessie Whitely. C. C. Birchard & Company, Boston. 

Chase, Children of the Wigwam. Educational Publishing Company, 

Roulet, Indian Folk Tales. American Book Company, New York. 

Cooper, The Deerslayer. American Book Company, New York. 

Newell, Indian Stories. Silver, Burdett & Company, Boston. 

Hazard and Button, Indians and Pioneers. Silver, Burdett & Com- 
pany, Boston. 

Austin, The Trail Book. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 

Eastman, Indian Legends Retold. Little, Brown & Company, Boston. 

Illustrative pictures, post cards, etc. 

Local History 

Suggestions. (1) A program dealing with local history 
can be made both entertaining and instructive; it may 
also be the means of stirring up a bit more of community 
pride. If, for example, it be shown that the schoolhouse 
is no better than the one the parents attended school in, 
although the farms, the homes, the roads, etc., have been 

Entertainment Programs 175 

improved meanwhile, the comparison may be strongly- 
suggestive of a new schoolhouse. 

(2) Both parents and pupils should be represented on 
a local history program. For details of preparation, see 
page 83. 

(3) See that every important event is chronicled. 

(4) See to it also that no single family receives mention 
out of proportion to its merits. Care should be taken 
to avoid creating any bitterness in the community, such 
as might occur through the revival of old controversial 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "The First Settler and His Times" 

4. "The Oldest Church" 

5. "The Schoolhouse Then and Now" 

6. "How We Have Grown Educationally" 

7. "Farming To-day and Forty Years Ago" 

8. "Introduction of Improved Farm Machinery" 

9. "Introduction of improved Live Stock" 

10. "Successful Men Who Were Home Boys" 

11. Songs 

History of the state 
History of the county 

Old records, reports, letters, photographs, etc. 
State superintendent's biennial reports 
Census reports 

Bible Stories 

Suggestions. (1) A few programs may be made up 
wholly or in part of Bible stories, — stories of the great 
characters and of the great events of the Bible. Learn- 
ing these stories so as to be able to tell them before an 

176 The Community Center 

audience will be of great value to the children. The 
parents also should have places on these programs. 

(2) It may be well to have the children learn these 
stories and tell them before the school as devotional exer- 
cises, previous to the date of the meeting. 

(3) The teacher should direct the children, and perhaps 
the parents as well, in the selection of the stories to be told. 
Books of Bible stories will be found in many country homes. 

(4) Avoid any discussions or controversies over bibli- 
cal doctrines. Let this program be strictly a Bible story 
program. No program is suggested but instead some 
subjects for stories are presented. 

Some Good Stories to Tell 

Abraham and Lot — Genesis xiii-xiv 

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah — Genesis xviii and first 

thirty verses of xix 
Joseph and His Brethren — Genesis xxxvii, xxxix, xlvii 
Early Life and Call of Moses — Exodus i-iv 
The Passage of the Red Sea — Exodus xiii, xiv 
Crossing the Jordan — Joshua iii-iv 
The Life and Death of Samson — Judges xiii-xvi 
The Story of Ruth and Naomi — Ruth i-iv 
The Anointing of Saul — 1 Samuel viii-x 
Saul's Disobedience — 1 Samuel xv 
The Story of David and Goliath — 1 Samuel xxii-xxiii 
The Friendship of David and Jonathan — 1 Samuel xviii : 1-14, xx 
Stories of Elijah — 1 Kings xvi-xix 
The Capture of Jerusalem -^ 2 Kings xxv 
Daniel and the Fiery Furnace — Daniel i-iii 
Daniel in the Den of Lions — Daniel vi 
The Story of Jonah — Book of Jonah 


Bible story books found in every community. 
Sunday School les&on leaves. 

Entertainment Programs 177 

Washington's Birthday 

Suggestions. (1) February offers a golden oppor- 
tunity for lessons in patriotism. The birthdays of Wash- 
ington and Lincoln may be celebrated with a single pro- 
gram. Special care should be taken in its preparation 
and patriotism should be the dominant motive. 

(2) Suggestions for this program have been so skill- 
fully worked out elsewhere ^ that we take the liberty of 
quoting : 

1. As in the corn festival, careful planning will permit much 
of the school work to be used for the program. 

a. Invitations may be made by the pupils. Cut out a shield, 
paste on it a picture of Lincoln or Washington. Use this for cover 
of the invitation. 

6. Little booklets containing a picture of either hero, with quota- 
tions, etc., may be made to give to the parents who come and sent 
to those who cannot. (Postage stamps furnish a picture of Lincoln 
and Washington.) Or cut out cherries from red, leaves from green, 
and stems from brown paper and paste them on a shield. 

c. Let the chart class have a reading lesson about the flag. Let 
each carry a flag, and at the close of the lesson repeat : 

** I love the name of Washington ; 
I love my country too ; 
I love the flag, the dear old flag. 
With its red and white and blue." 

d. Tell a good story of Washington or Lincoln to your school. 
Use a map and make it impressive. Then let one of your older pupils 
tell it at the program. The battles of Trenton and Princeton are 
good. For Lincoln there are many, but a selection from "The Per- 
fect Tribute" is excellent. 

e. Have a flag drill. Use it for a rest exercise, and also for indoor 
exercise during February ; then it is ready for the program. 

1 Social and Civic Work in Country CommunitieSf Bulletin No. 
18, Wisconsin Department of Education. 

178 The Community Center' 

/. Let the history class read about the first flag and write stories 
showing several conversations about it. 

g. Let each child wear a badge, a picture of Washington or Lin- 
coln on a white circle of cardboard with ribbons of red, white and 
blue paper pasted back of it. Have one for each guest also. 

2. Other interesting features of the evening may be : 

a. The music — Have just as many stirring and patriotic songs 
as your people know, but be sure to invite the audience to rise and 
sing with you in the last number, "America." See that your pupils 
know every word. 

b. Home-made flags of other nations. Boys may prepare staffs, 
girls may copy flags from dictionary, using cambric or tissue paper. 
Then prepare an exercise telling about them, and close with some one 
of the many tributes to our flag, — all other flags dropped, ours 
high. This would be good for closing, and the audience could be 
invited to rise for "America." 

(3) If possible, the room should be decorated with 
American flags. The personal character of Washington 
should be strongly emphasized by reading or reciting 
appropriate selections from literature. This is a good 
opportunity for tableaux. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "Washington and His Times" 

4. "The Incident of the Cherry Tree as an Example to Young 
Americans," by a citizen 

5. Songs 

6. "Washington, the Soldier" 

7. "Washington as a Farmer" 

8. "What I Think is the Best Story about the Life of Washing- 
ton," by a pupil 

9. Tableau — "Washington at Valley Forge" 
10. Songs 

Entertainment Programs 179 


Consult any Life of Washington. 

See texts on United States history and literature. 

Hill, On the Trail of Washington. D. Appleton & Company, New 

Scudder, George Washington. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 
Brooks, The True Story of George Washington. Lothrop, Lee & 

Shepard, Boston. 
Guerber, Story of the Thirteen Colonies. American Book Company, 

New York. 
Washington's Rules of Conduct, etc. Houghton Mifflin Company, 

Illustrative pictures. 

Lincoln's Birthday 

Suggestions. (1) Where Lincoln's birthday is regu- 
larly celebrated, the program submitted below may be 

(2) All reference to politics or partisanship should be 
strictly avoided. 

A Program 

1. Song — "America" 

2. Current events 

3. "Lincoln's School Days" 

4. "Lincoln and the Pig" 

5. "Lincoln, the Rail-Splitter" 

6. "Lincoln, the Statesman" 

7. Song — "The Star-Spangled Banner" 

8. Lincoln's "Gettysburg Speech," read by a pupil 

9. "Lincoln, the Man" 

10. Lowell's "Ode to Lincoln," recited by a pupil 

11. Whitman's "0 Captain, My Captain," recited by a pupil 

12. Song — "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" 

180 The Community Center 


Consult texts on history and literature. 

Nicolay, The Boy's Life of Abraham Lincoln. The Century Company, 
New York. 

Gordy, Abraham Lincoln. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 

Morgan, Abraham Lincoln, The Boy and the Man. Macmillan 
Company, New York. 

Baldwin, Life of Abraham Lincoln. American Book Company, New 

Chase, Boyhood of Famous Americans. Educational Publishing Com- 
pany, Boston. 

Pictures, photographs, post cards, etc. 

Charnwood, Life of Lincoln. Henry Holt & Company, New York. 


Community Building. The programs suggested under 
" entertainments '' are intended primarily for entertain- 
ment or recreation. If skillfully directed, while serving 
this purpose they will also help to establish a spirit of 
community social life and neighborliness. In other words, 
the community will have had an opportunity to accu- 
mulate sufficient social capital to begin community build- 
ing. As has already been indicated, the teacher will 
have to decide what kind of program is best suited to 
prepare for earnest constructive work, and how many 
such programs will be necessary. 

In certain favored communities very few programs 
will be necessary before launching through the community 
center meetings a campaign for some definite community 
improvement. This campaign may be begun by a debate 
or a discussion of the needed improvements as one feature 
of an entertainment program. If, for example, health 
conditions have been allowed to become dangerous to 
the public welfare, a local physician may be put upon 
the program to tell the people what dangers to health 
are prevailing and to outline the remedy for such condi- 
tion. If typhoid has stricken some of the families, then 
an address from a physician, or a motion picture showing 
the dangers of stagnant water and of the common house 
fly, would be of esr>ecial interest and value. A presenta- 


182 The Community Center 

tion of such facts should in every case, either at the same 
meeting or at the following one, be followed by a discus- 
sion of ways and means of ridding the community of the 
dangers from typhoid germs. If, fortunately, bad health 
conditions do not exist, then let the teacher and his 
advisers select some other phase of the community which 
needs betterment. It may be a proposition to improve 
the schoolhouse or the school yard, to provide better 
furniture and school equipment, to provide a school 
library or increase the number of its volumes, to improve 
the public highways or to improve methods of agriculture. 

Begin with a Simple Problem. Usually the teacher 
will make greatest progress, unless some impending danger 
threatens, by first attacking the problem nearest at 
hand. Very early in the term she will be able to cele- 
brate Clean-up-and-Beautify Day, when most of the 
parents can be interested in cleaning up the school 
grounds, in decorating the inside walls of the school- 
room, or in providing a school library. For the pur- 
pose of decorating the walls of the schoolroom, and of 
securing or increasing the school library, the school 
may have a box-supper, a pie- or peanut-social, or a 
school entertainment. From these simpler beginnings 
the community center will easily proceed to an attack 
upon the harder problems of community building, such 
as better agricultural methods, the improvement of the 
public roads, etc. 

Vary the Programs. But let no teacher make the mis- 
take of first having all the programs for entertainment 
and then all later programs for community improvement. 
In the first place, no teacher would have time to carry 
out such a plan; and in the second place, the people 
would tire of it. After the first few programs for enter- 

Country Life Programs 183 

tainment, selected with reference to seasons or to pre- 
vailing conditions, either have each program include both 
entertainment and discussions of rural life problems or 
have an entertainment alternate with a program of more 
serious nature. 

One Problem at a Time. Furthermore, it is generally- 
unwise to attack too many community improvements 
in a single year. The mere discussion of the community's 
needs will accomplish very little. Action is necessary 
to community improvement. If the community can 
make one permanent improvement in a year, that step 
will lead in due time to many other permanent improve- 
ments; because it so happens that when a community 
has once come together for the solution of a problem, 
the habit thus acquired and their pride in the thing 
accomplished are sufficient stimuli for them to continue 
working for community improvement. 

Create Friendly Rivalry. If adjoining neighborhoods 
can be induced to rival each other in a friendly way in 
community improvements, each will have an added 
stimulus back of every community undertaking. Cities 
rival one another. Why not rural communities? The 
spirit of healthful rivalry in community improvements 
may be made to grow out of the rivalry of two or more 
communities in connection with school athletics, spelling 
bees, debates, etc. In any such rivalry, a very effective 
but inexpensive device is a school " banner '' to be held 
in the custody of the successful school or community. 
The skillful teacher can also appropriate this symbol 
of community pride as a strong incentive to her pupils 
to make their school the best in the contest unit. The 
following programs may be suggestive as means of improv- 
ing country life in all its phases. 

184 The Community Center 

Country Life 

Suggestions. (1) This program should have a dual 
object: (a) to point out the most prominent fallacies 
which are reported to induce country people to move 
to the city ; and (6) to indicate the way to make country 
life both profitable and enjoyable. 

(2) One fallacy in particular should be made plain; 
namely, that not every one who goes to the city either 
succeeds or has a good time. Many teachers are prone 
to hold up to the country boys and girls the men and 
women who have achieved success as lawyers, physicians, 
politicians, business men, etc., but fail at the same time 
to point out that a much larger number have gone to the 
city only to be swallowed up in wretched lives of poverty 
and degradation. 

(3) On the other hand, the advantages of intensive 
farming and of the increased prices of farm products 
ought to be made prominent in this program. Objection 
may be made to the promised advantage of higher prices 
for farm products, on the ground that these high prices, 
induced by abnormal conditions, will be reduced now 
that these conditions are removed. But there are nearly 
as many mouths to feed now as then and the destruction 
of tillable lands on foreign battlefields has greatly reduced 
the productive acreage of the world. Some of our closest 
students of economics predict that never again, or not 
for many years, shall we be able to purchase farm products 
at greatly reduced prices. The enhanced value of farm 
lands would seem to bear out this conclusion. 

(4) The improved social opportunities of country people 
ought also to be given especial attention. Perhaps the 
success of the community center has already demon- 

Country Life Programs 185 

strated this fact. The improvement of public highways, 
the use of the automobile, the extension of trolley lines 
into country districts, the improvement of schools and 
churches, improved methods of agriculture, the rural 
telephone, the free delivery of mails, making possible the 
daily newspaper, magazines, etc. — all contribute to the 
social, moral, and economic welfare of the country people. 
The country is now a better place to live in than ever 
before, and it promises even more for the future. 

A Program 

1. Song — "Swinging 'Neath the Old Apple Tree" 

2. Current events 

3. "The Fanner His Own Boss" 

4. "Why I Like the Country" 

5. "Pitfalls of City Life" 

6. Song — "There's a Good Time Coming" 

7. " Improvement of the Country Home " 

8. "How to Make Living in the Country Enjoyable" 

9. "Labor-Saving Devices for the Home" 

10. " Some of the Beauties of Country Life" 

11. Songs " 


Bulletins of the United States Department of Agriculture, Wash- 
ington, D.C.i 

No. 185 — Beautifying the Home Grounds. 

No. 270 — Modern Conveniences for the Farm Home. 

No. 494 — Lawn Soil and Lawns. 

No. 195 — Annual Flowering Plants. 

No. 463 — The Sanitary Privy. 
Warner, Being a Boy. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 
Abbott, A Boy on a Farm. American Book Company, New York. 
Barbe, Going to College. Hinds, Noble & Eldridge, New York. 

1 Some of the bulletins listed above, also those in connection with 
subsequent programs, are obtainable now only by paying a nominal 
sum of from five cents to twenty cents each. 

186 The Community Center 

Good Roads 

Suggestions. (1) Strange as it may seem, when the 
question of improving the country roads is mentioned, 
the very people who need them the most are sometimes 
the ones who raise the most opposition. The difficulty 
here lies in the fact that such a person has not thought 
seriously about the matter. His grandfather, his father, 
and he^ himself had put up with existing conditions. 
Why change the custom? 

The following incident is illustrative of how difficult 
it is for any one to take the initiative in improving a 
bad situation. A year or two ago the writer was driving 
along a country road with a county superintendent of 
schools. As we climbed a rather steep hill we came upon 
a group of teamsters unloading lumber. In response to 
an inquiry as to why they were unloading lumber at that 
place, the superintendent explained that the road was 
so steep for about fifty yards that a full load could not 
be hauled over it, so the teamster had either to make the 
twenty-five miles with a half load, or else double back for 
half the load at the foot of the grade. For a hundred 
years the farmers had been making this trip with half 
loads because of this fifty yards of steep grade, which 
could easily have been improved by a half dozen men in 
a few days. The probabilities are that every one of 
them had noted his own personal loss and wished that 
the grade had been improved, but there had been no 
thought of getting the neighborhood together to change 
the grade. 

(2) Therefore, the opportunity for the community 
center is to get the people together and help them to study 
some practical lessons of road building ; for example ; 

Country Life Programs 187 

Lesson One. If a farmer has one thousand bushels of apples 
which he cannot market because of the bad condition of the roads, 
and if apples are worth one dollar a bushel, how much does he lose 
on account of bad roads? 

Lesson Two. If the same farmer pays taxes on $10,000 at the 
rate of ten cents on each one hundred dollars in order to have passable 
roads to the market, how much does he save the first year on account 
of the improved roads? 

Lesson Three. If a farmer can haul twice as much and make 
twice as many loads on good roads as he can on bad roads, what will 
be the value of good roads to him when he hauls two tons of coal 
at one dollar a ton, making four loads a day for two hundred days? 

Lesson Four. If the same farmer pays $100 in road taxes each 
year, in order to have maximum efficiency for himself and his team, 
what will be his annual profit? 

Lesson Five. If a man pays no taxes whatsoever for the support 
of roads that taxpayers improve, why should he vote against a special 
road tax? 

Popular Intelligence. The reason why some people 
oppose a bond issue or a special road tax for the improve- 
ment of public highways is usually because they have 
not given these questions intelligent thought. One 
great trouble with all propositions involving the raising 
of money is that the objectors think only of the total 
amount, say fifty thousand dollars, and not of the twenty- 
five cents or one dollar or ten dollars that the improve- 
ment will cost them individually. For example, at a 
certain citizen's meeting where the establishment of a 
graded and high school was being discussed, only one 
man objected to the proposition. He asked all sorts of 
questions and finally remarked that if the proposition 
carried he would be a ruined man, that the taxes would 
" break him up.'' One of the citizens present publicly 
asked this gentleman how that could happen, " when to 
my certain knowledge," said he, " your taxes have been 

188 The Community Center 

returned delinquent for seven years." Another obstacle 
is the use of a petition. The dangerous element in the 
petition is that the one who circulates it presents only 
one side of the question, and, if in opposition, usually 
in the most exaggerated form possible; and also that 
most people will sign such a petition without much regard 
to its meaning, often for the sake of satisfying the peti- 
tioner. Upon one occasion, for example, about one 
third of the community were found to have signed two 
petitions, one for and one against the establishment of a 
consolidated school; not that they intended to be dis- 
honest, but simply because they did not understand 
exactly what they were doing. 

The best method of settling the question of building 
roads, or of making any other community improvement, 
is usually to get the people together at the schoolhouse, 
let them have all the information available on the practi- 
cal side of the question — including some practical prob- 
lems about the roads of the immediate community — 
and then let them discuss the proposition in all its phases. 
Especially, it should be possible for each individual 
to understand the actual cost to him in dollars and cents. 
It might be a good plan to have bogus tax-tickets made 
out showing each individual just how. much of the amount 
to be raised he would actually have to pay in taxes. 

The following program is offered as a suggestion for 
one meeting. If the proposition should come to an elec- 
tion, other programs, or parts of programs, should be 

A Program 

1. Song, led by school choir 

2. Current events 

3. A map showing the public roads of the neighborhood. (This 

Country Life Programs 189 

may be drawn on the blackboard by one of the pupils before the 
meeting begins.) 

4. ** Inconvenience of the Roads as They Are," by a citizen 

5. "Are Our Roads Properly Located?" by a citizen 

6. "How Much Does This Community Lose Yearly by Not 
Having Good Roads?" by a pupil 

7. Song 

8. "What Would It Cost to Make Our Roads What They Should 
Be? Would It Pay?" by a citizen 

9. "The Best Means of Improving Our Roads," by a citizen 

10. "When Should We Begin?" by a citizen 

11. Song 

, References 

The following farmers' bulletins may be obtained by writing to the 
United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. : 
No. 95 — Good Roads for Farmers. 
No. 505 — Benefits of Supervised Roads. 
No. 311 — Sand, Clay and Burnt Clay Roads. 
No. 136 — Earth Roads. 
No. 321 — The Split-Log Drag. 

No. 31 — Mileage and Cost of Public Roads in the United States. 
No. 39 — Highway Bridges and Culverts. 
No. 95 — Special Road Problems of the United States. 
No. 338 — Macadam Roads. 

Mother's Day 

This is a beautiful custom that has lately come into 
American life. Sentiment is the dominant idea and this 
is well, for we all reverence and honor motherhood. Upon 
this occasion ministers or other speakers pay the highest 
tribute to motherhood. On Mother's Day everybody is 
expected to wear a flower, a colored one if his mother is 
living, and a white one if she is dead. 

Unfortunately, the observance of Mother's Day has 
thus far been confined mainly to the citie^. All honor 

190 The Community Center 

to mothers everywhere; but to the mothers living on 
the farms we owe our especial gratitude. As a rule, the 
country mother toils from early morning till late at night 
in addition to caring for her children. She makes great 
sacrifices for her children, and she is deserving of our pro- 
foundest respect and admiration. 

Suggestions. (1) It has occurred to us that we might 
improve greatly our present custom of observing Mother's 
Day. Suppose, for example, that when we come together 
at the country church or the schoolhouse to observe 
Mother's Day, we spend at least part of the time in the 
discussion of ways and means of improving the conditions 
under which the mother shall rear her children and perform 
her other duties in a country home. If such discussion 
should result in one or more definite improvements of 
this kind in even a few homes of the community, would 
not that add more to the comforts and the joys of mothers 
than any amount of praise in the form of words only? 
For mother can scarcely appreciate fully the praise we 
give her, if, after the exercises in her honor are over, she 
has to return to a poorly equipped kitchen to prepare 
the Sunday dinner or, worse still, if she had to stay at 
home to prepare dinner while the rest of us went to church 
to speak her praise. 

In justice to the fathers it ought, perhaps, to be said 
that their failure to provide the best possible comforts 
for their wives is not so very often due to willful neglect. 
It is due rather, we surmise, to the fact that their mothers 
lived under similar conditions. Why, therefore, should 
their wives expect better conveniences than their own 
mothers enjoyed? It is the same old story as of roads 
and schools. In any such circumstances, prejudice or 
custom, not reason, rules our actions. 

Country Life Programs 191 

(2) Another reason why this bad situation obtains in 
so many country homes is the fact that the farmer, if he 
reasons on the matter at all, feels that first of all he has 
to make the living for his family. His wife's work seems 
to be a matter of course. So, if money is to be spent for 
improvements about the farm home, the conveniences 
of farm labor, not the conveniences of the kitchen, take 
precedence. Almost invariably running water is in- 
stalled at the barn before it is installed in the kitchen. 
If machinery is to be purchased, it is usually farm machin- 
ery, not the machinery necessary in the kitchen and 
about the home. 

A few years ago the writer stopped at a farm home for 
dinner. Upon entering the home he noticed the wife 
with a water pail in each hand ascending a rather steep 
hill to a mountain spring for drinking water. Upon 
inquiry he learned that heirs of the grandfather who first 
settled there and built his home had for a hundred years 
carried drinking water from that spring which, as nearly 
as could be ascertained, was about one sixteenth of a mile 
from the dwelling house. This situation suggested the 
following arithmetic problem: If some member of this 
family had made only two trips to that spring each day 
for drinking water, how far had some one traveled in 
these hundred years to supply that home with drinking 
water alone? Two trips a day, one sixteenth of a mile 
each way, make one fourth of a mile traveled each day ; 
in one year some one traveled 91 J miles ; and in 100 years 
some one had traveled 100 times 91 J miles, or 9125 miles. 
That would be about the equivalent of walking three 
times the distance between New York and San Francisco. 

This situation was at the opposite extreme from one 
which was found shortly afterwards at another farm home. 

192 The Community Center 

At a community center meeting there had been a discus- 
sion about the possibihty of instaUing running water 
in the homes by piping it from springs at higher levels. 
One man at least got the idea. Following this suggestion 
he built a cement tank just below a spring on the hill- 
side above his home. He calculated the size of the tank 
that would be necessary to furnish him also with sufficient 
water power to run certain of his farm machinery. Then 
he piped the water from the spring into the tank and from 
the tank into his home and his bam. He came to be so 
fascinated with this idea that in time he was running 
nearly everything about the place, in the form of a ma- 
chine, with this water power. Readers who have been 
boys on a farm can imagine the joy of the two boys 
in this home when the father attached this water power 
to the old grindstone. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Devotional exercises 

3. Current events 

4. "What Mother Means to Me," by a pupil 

5. "How I Help My Mother," by a pupil 

6. "How Mother Helps Me," by a pupil 

7. Songs 

8. "How to Install Running Water in the Country Home," by 
a citizen 

9. "Conveniences Which I Need in the Kitchen," by a mother 

10. "The Mother's Part in Making the Living in a Farm Home," 
by a mother 

11. Songs, and a social half hour 

Better Farming 

Suggestions. (1) This program may serve as a sort 
of general introduction to a number of programs dealing 
with particular phases of farming. This and all other 

Country Life Programs 193 

farm programs should be made as practical as possible 
because, if the people are interested at all, they desire 
some very definite help on the problems that actually 
confront them. 

(2) A motion picture or a lantern-slide lecture may 
prove helpful in driving home some practical suggestions. 
If neither of these is available, then perhaps the county 
agricultural agent, the county superintendent of schools, 
or a progressive farmer, either in the community or in 
an adjoining one, can be secured to discuss some of the 
most vital problems of the farmers and of the farmers' 
wives. But if none of these special features can be pro- 
vided, then let the people discuss their problems among 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "Improved Farm Machinery as Labor Savers," by a farmer 

4. "Boys' and Girls' Agricultural Clubs as Farmers' Training 

5. "How to Make Farm Life Happier for Farm Women," by a 
farmer's wife 

6. Songs 

7. "How to Spend the Leisure Hours" 

8. "How to Make Better Use of the Telephone and the Parcel 

9. "How to Use the School as a Farm Asset " 
10. Songs, and a social half hour 


Butterfield, Chapters in Rural Progress. University of Chicago Press, 

Chicago, 111. 
Bailey, The State and the Farmer. Macmillan Company, New York. 
Bailey, The Training of Farmers. The Century Company, New 


194 The Community Center 

Butterfield, The Country Church and the Rural Problem. University 
of Chicago Press, Chicago, 111. 

Health Program 

Suggestions. (1) This program should be made pri- 
marily instructive. Many people living in the country 
have never had the opportunity of learning even the sim- 
plest laws of health. They do not have the facilities 
for sanitary living that the city affords. A few definite 
suggestions about the house fly, its breeding places, 
and its relation to typhoid may be the means of avoiding 
a typhoid epidemic in the community. Other maladies, 
such as tuberculosis, colds, and the various contagious 
diseases, are good subjects for discussions. 

(2) Nothing could be more appropriate on a health 
program than some plain suggestions relative to personal 
hygiene. In such discussions the teacher will, of course, 
use due caution not to offend or to allow the discussion 
to go beyond its proper limitations. 

(3) It is a very good plan to have a local physician 
address the meeting. He is in position to say to the people 
what the teacher would not dare to say or what one 
parent could not say to the others. His experience 
among the homes will enable him to emphasize the 
things most important to the health of the community. 

(4) The motion picture companies now have excellent 
films showing the' ravages of the house fly, the causes of 
tuberculosis, the dangers of stagnant water, etc. These 
films are far more impressive than any amount of " lec- 

(5) In a good many communities the physicians could 
be interested in making a medical inspection of the school 
without fees. A report of such an inspection would open 

Country Life Programs 195 

the eyes of the community as perhaps nothing else 

One program is offered below. Others may be prepared 
from time to time as occasion warrants. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "How the House Fly Spreads Disease" 

4. "Why Ventilate the Bedroom" 

5. "Why We Have Colds" 

6. Songs 

7. "The Principal Causes of Disease in This Community," by a 
physician, or, 

A motion picture 

8. Songs 


Bulletins of U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. : 
No. 463 — The Sanitary Privy. 
No. 345 — Some Common Disinfectants. 
No. 393 — Habit-forming Agents. 
No. 459 — House Flies. 
No. 115 — How Insects Affect Health. 
No. 377 — Harmfulness of Headache Mixtures. 

King Com 

Suggestions. (1) This program may be offered in 
the fall after the corn has been harvested, when the farm- 
ers or the boys' club bring their best products to the 
school for exhibition. It would take the form of an agri- 
cultural fair or exhibit. Or, if a corn program be arranged 
in the spring, it may be turned to very practical use by 
instruction as to the testing of seed corn, the preparing 
of the soil for planting, the best method of cultivation, 
etc. If possible, have the county agricultural agent or 

196 The Community Center 

other agricultural expert present to offer suggestions 
that will be of real help to the farmers. Or, perhaps some 
farmer of the community can offer as capable service 
as could some one secured from the outside. 

(2) Let every one be free to ask questions after the 
speaker has finished his address. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "The Varieties of Corn Best Adapted to This State" 

4. "Preparing the Seed Bed" 

5. "Corn Cultivation" 

6. Songs 

7. "Corn as a Food for Animals" 

8. "Corn and the Silo" 

9. "How to Test Seed Corn" 
10. Songs 


Bulletins of U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. : 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 253, The Germination of Seed Corn. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 414, Corn Cultivation. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 313, Harvesting and Storing Com. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 415, Seed Corn. 

Farmers' Bulletin No. 298, Food Value of Corn and Corn Prod- 

The Apple 

Suggestions. (1) In a community where apples are 
grown or where the soil and climate are favorable to their 
production, a program dealing with their cultivation, use, 
and marketing may be offered in " apple time.'' The 
teacher should invite the apple growers to bring a few 
of their choice fruits for exhibition. A prize may be 
offered for the best exhibit. 

Country Life Programs 197 

(2) It will add materially to the effectiveness of this 
program, if the county agricultural agent or a horticul- 
tural expert can be secured to meet with the people at 
one of the orchards in the community and give demon- 
strations at the proper seasons in transplanting trees, 
tree pruning, gathering the crop, packing for market, 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "Why This Is a Good Apple-producing State" 

4. "Best Varieties of Apples for This State" 

5. "The Transplanting of Trees" 

6. "Pruning the Young Trees" 

7. Songs 

8. "Pruning an Old Orchard" 

9. " Diseases and Their Remedies (Spraying) " 

10. " Picking and Packing Apples " 

11. "Marketing Apples" 

12. Songs 


United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 

Circular No. 7, Orchard Spraying. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 291, Evaporation of Apples. 


Suggestions. (1) Organize a poultry club among the 
boys and girls. Secure the cooperation of the county 
agricultural agent or of a representative of the state 
college of agriculture. Valuable literature and many 
suggestions can be obtained in this way. 

(2) Find out who among the community are especially 
interested in poultry raising, and enlist their help in this 

198 The Community Center 

(3) If possible arrange for a poultry show. Offer 
prizes for the best birds exhibited. If near a town, it 
will usually be possible to interest the bankers and mer- 
chants in offering the prizes. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "Are We Keeping Enough Fowls?" 

4. "The Kind of Fowls to Keep" 

5. "Cooperative Marketing of Eggs" 

6. "Marketing Eggs by Parcel Post" 

7. "Poultry Buildings" 

8. "Feeding Poultry" 

9. "Feeding Young Chicks" 

10. "Poultry Diseases and Remedies" 

11. Songs 


Bulletins of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. : 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 287, Poultry Management. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 51, Standard Varieties of Chickens. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 528, Hints to Poultry Raisers. 
Circular No. 208 (Animal Industry Bureau), The Organization 

of Girls' Poultry Clubs. 
Bulletin No. 140 (Animal Industry Bureau), Fattening Poultry. 


Suggestions. (1) It is not essential that a farm be 
called a dairy farm before there is a dairying business. 
The man who has two or three cows may be a dairyman 
on a small scale. 

(2) Have the most successful dairymen or farmers 
relate some of their experiences and offer suggestions. 

(3) If at all possible, secure a Babcock milk tester and 
test the milk of several cows. This can easily be done. 

• Country Life Programs 199 

Invite the farmers to bring a bottle of milk from each 
cow, labeling the bottles so that they may know what 
per cent of butter fat each cow produces. There will 
be no lack of interest while these tests are being made. 
They will result in the farmers' disposing of those cows 
that prove to be merely " boarders." 

(4) If it can be so arranged, have a day meeting at 
one of the farms, where the cows can be judged under the 
direction of an agricultural expert. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "Good Points about a Dairy Cow" 

4. "Care and Feeding of Cows" 

5. "Some Common Diseases of Cows and the Remedies" 

6. "Best Breeds of Dairy Cows" 

7. "The Advantages of the Cream Separator" 

8. "Testing of Samples of Milk" 

9. Songs 


Bulletins of U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. : 
Circular No. 205 (Animal Industry Bureau), Milk and Cheese 

Farmers' Bulletin No. 106, Breeds of Dairy Cattle. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 55, The Dairy Herd: Its Formation and 

- Bulletin No. 34 (Animal Industry Bureau), American Breeds of 

Cattle with Remarks on Pedigrees. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 241, Buttermaking on the Farm. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 413, The Care of Milk and Its Use in the 



Suggestions. (1) Alfalfa is a comparatively new crop 
in many sections of the country and many farmers know 

200 The Community Center 

very little about either its value or the methods of pro- 
ducing it. It is believed some soils will not produce it. 
This program more than any of the others, perhaps, needs 
the assistance of the agricultural expert. 

(2) If possible, find a person who has successfully grown 
alfalfa, and ask him to explain all about it. 

(3) Secure literature from or through the state agri- 
cultural college, and a week or two before the meeting 
put this literature into the hands of persons who will 
study the problem and report at the meeting. 

A Program 

1. Songs 

2. Current events 

3. "History of Alfalfa," by a pupil 

4. "What Alfalfa Does for the Soil and How" 

5. "The Kind of Soil Necessary for the Growth of Alfalfa" 

6. "Application of Lime" 

7. "Inoculating the Soil" 

8. "Time to Seed and How" 

9. "Alfalfa as a Hay" 
10. Songs 


Cotton Belt, by Alfored, International Harvester Company, Chicago, 

Write the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C, 

and your State College of Agriculture for literature and other* 


Farm Problems 

It may be well to devote at least one or two meetings 
to the discussion of general farm problems. The fol- 
lowing topics are offered, from which a selection may be 
made to suit the needs of any particular community : 

Country Life Programs 201 

Farm labor Fanning as a business 

Soil depletion Cooperation among farmers 

Noxious weeds Marketing of crops 

Insect pests Truck farming 

Tenancy Land values 

Better farming Farm machinery 


Butterfield, Chapters in Rural Progress. University of Chicago 

Press, Chicago. 
Plunkett, Rural Life Problems in the United States. Macmillan 

Company, New York. 
Carney, Country Life and the Country School. Row, Peterson and 

Company, Chicago. 
Carver, Selected Readings in Rural Economics. Ginn and Company, 

Carver, Principles of Rural Economics. Ginn and Company, Boston. 

Selected Programs 

The following are a few programs selected at random 
from a large number that have been rendered in rural 
schools. They have the advantage of showing how some 
of the community center meetings work out in actual 
practice. These programs are typical of the literary 
exercises that used to be so common at the schoolhouse 
and that still survive in some places in a not greatly modi- 
fied form. They may be greatly improved, but mean- 
while they may serve a good purpose as suggestions. 




A story 




202 The Community Center 




Debate: Resolved, That conventions are better suited to the 

people than primaries. 
Reading of the school paper 

Song — "America" 




Duet ' 

Song and music, by five girls 



Debate: Resolved, That art is more attractive to the eye than 



Election of officers 









Talk, by a citizen. 

Song — "America" 
Wit and humor 

Debate: Resolved, That Washington did more for his country 
than Lincoln. 

Cotmtry Life Programs 203 


Story — "Little Brother" 




Reading — "Calling WiUie" 


Vocal solo 


Vocal solo 



Debate: Resolved, That we receive more knowledge through 

reading than through observation. 





Reading — "Nolan's Speech' 

Extemporaneous talks 

Vocal solo 



Song — "The Star-Spangled Banner' 
Vocal solo 
Vocal duet 

Reading — "Aversion to Slang" 
Short story- 
Patriotic songs. 

204 The Community Center 




Vocal duet 





Debate : Resolved, That fire is more destructive than water. 

Vocal solo 

Songs ^ 



Vocal solo 

Debate : Resolved, That military training should be made compul- 
sory for young men. 

The following programs are taken from a bulletin of 
the Iowa State Teachers College. ^ They are programs 
which have actually been rendered in community centers 
in the vicinity of Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

Song — "Grasshopper Green" 

Song — " A Doll's Lullaby " 
Dramatizing Mother Goose Rhymes 
Music — choice selections on the victrola \ 


Discussion : Keeping Records in the Chicken Business, conducted 
by a number of interested people in the community. 

» June, 1916. 

Country Life Programs 205 

Song — "Jolly Eskimos" 

Dialogue — " Susanna's Illness " 

Song — "If I Only Had a Home, Sweet Home" 

Dramatization of language lesson 

Dialogue — "Pineville Baby Show" 

Discussion : Corn Raising in Blackhawk County. 

A group of songs 

Out-of-door games (The automobiles were placed in a circle about 

the volley ball court so that their headlights lighted up the court 

sufficiently to play the game very well) 
Supper and social hour indoors (Everybody spent the hour 

getting acquainted with everybody else) 

Vocal solo 

Illustrated lecture — "The Building of Panama Canal' 

Supper and social hour. 

Song ' 


Piano solo 


Piano solo 



Debate : Resolved, That a clean, cranky housewife is better than 

a dirty, good-natured one. 
Discussion of Hog Cholera by the United States Government 

(Hard-times Program) 
Parade by those in hard-times costumes 

Mutt and Jeff 

Presentation of prizes for best hard-times costume 
Talk — " Better Schools " 

206 The Community Center 

Flag salute, by the school 

Song — "Little George Washington," by the school 
Hatchet drill, by intermediate grade pupils 
Recitation — "A Modern Washington" 
Recitation — "Truthful George" 
Recitation — " George Washington " 
Recitation — "Which General?" 
Piano solo 

Dialogue — "A Pair of Scissors," by five girls 
Military drill, by twelve boys 
Piano solo 
' "Song of Washington," by six girls 
Virginia reel in costume, by the grown people of the community 
"America," sung by all 

Corn judging 

" Corn is King," chart explained by pupil in sixth grade 

Informal discussion of corn growing, by farmers present 

"Christmas Lullaby," by pupils of the school 

Reading contest, between pupils of Greeley School and pupils 

from the Hearst School 
Essay — "Christmas Customs" 
Violin solo 

Guessing contest with silhouettes 
Refreshments and social hour 

Vocal duet 


Dialogue — "Thanksgiving on the Farm" 

Vocal solo 


Song — " The Goblin Man " 

" Glad to Be a Little Girl" 

Vocal solo 

Illustrated talk on com growing 

A Prophecy. The theme of this book, which we have 
tried to put into the form of suggestions, is embodied in 

Country Life Programs 207 

a prophecy for the future rural community, eloquently 
expressed by Dr. Frederick T. Gates in a pamphlet en- 
titled The Country School of Tomorrow, from which we 
take the liberty of quoting a few paragraphs. 

A new science or a new art, just now in process, perhaps not yet 
come to self-consciousness, shall be fully developed for our schools — 
the art of recreation for young and old, for all pursuits, for all seasons, 
for both sexes, indoors, out of doors. Some sweet, healthful, happy, 
adapted recreation shall enter into the program, not occasionally, 
but every day, for young and old alike. Ultimately, there will be 
professors of popular recreation. They shall be sent to us from the 
colleges, to teach us all the ways of relief from strain and tedium, 
precisely adapted. And all together we shall have our weekly half 
holiday for community recreations. 

Beauty, too, we shall cultivate no less than recreation. It is 
deHghtful to know that the sense of beauty in sight and sound is 
instinctive in mankind, ineradicable, fundamental as hunger. Deeper 
than intelligence it lies in our physical being, and runs down man- 
kind through many orders to the very insects. The sense of beauty 
in our rural children, as yet almost uncultivated and undeveloped, 
is a promising field of joy and blessedness. Accordingly, there shall 
be music, vocal and instrumental. We shall have an orchestra — if 
possible, a band, a chorus — and dancing shall be taught in utmost 
grace of movement, beginning with the littlest children, singly and 
in groups. The laws of beauty are indeed little known as yet, but 
scenes of beauty shall everywhere be pointed out and analyzed and 
dwelt upon to the full, and the art of drawing them shall be offered 
to all, as a means of close observation, of analysis, and of more per- 
fect recognition and enjoyment of beauty. 

So we have brought our little community at last to art and refine- 
ment. Such a people will demand literature and a library of their 
own. And when they begin to select and to read good books for 
themselves, our particular task will be done. We may leave them 
then, I think, to their natural local leaders. We have taught them 
how to live the life of the farm, of the fireside, of the rural community, 
to make it healthful, intelligent, efficient, productive, social, and 
no longer isolated. We have wakened sluggishness to interest and 
inquiry. We have given the mind, in the intelligent conduct of the 

208 The Community Center 

daily vocation, in the study and enjoyment of nature, material for 
some of the joys of the intellectual life. We have trained the eye 
for beauty, the ear for harmony, the soul for gentleness and courtesy, 
and made possible to these least of Christ's brethren the life of love 
and joy and admiration. We have made country life more desirable 
than city life and raised up in the country the natural aristocracy of 
the nation. 

Such is our dream. Must it be altogether a dream? Surely, 
it ought to be and, therefore, will be, realized, if not in its processes 

— and I have described processes at all mainly for pictorial effect 

— certainly in its results. If it be an achievement beyond our present 
civilization, then our more enlightened and capable children will 
certainly accomplish it. Come, in the end, it must and will. 


I. Problems of Rural Life in General 

Anderson, Wilbert L. The Country Town. The Baker and Taylor 

Company, New York, 1906. 
Are, Julius Bernhard. Rural Education and the Consolidated 

School. World Book Company, Yonkers, N. Y., 1919. 
Bailey, Liberty H. The Country Life Movement. Macmillan 

Company, New York, 1911. 
BuTTERFiELD, Kenyon L. Chapters in Rural Progress. The Univer- 
sity of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1908. 
BuTTERFiELD, Kenyon L. The Country Church and the Rural 

Problem. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1911. 
Carney, Mabel. Country Life and the Country School. Row, 

Peterson & Company, Chicago, 1912. 
Carver, Thomas Nixon. Principles of Rural Economics. Ginn & 

Company, Boston, 1911. 
Challman, S. a. The Rural School Plant. The Bruce Publishing 

Company, Milwaukee, 1917. 
Cubberley, Ellwood p. Rural Life and Education. Houghton 

Mifflin Company, Boston, 1914. 
Dewey, Evelyn. New Schools for Old. E. P. Button & Company, 

New York, 1919. 
Dewey, John. Democracy and Education. Macmillan Company, 

New York, 1916. 
Dewey, J. and E. Schools of Tomorrow. E. P. Dutton & Company, 

New York, 1915. 
FiSKE, G. W. The Challenge of the Country — A Study of Country 

Life Opportunity. Association Press, New York, 1912. 
Galpin, C. J. Rural Life. The Century Company, New York, 

Gillette, J. M. Constructive Rural Sociology. Sturgis and Walton, 

New York, 1913. 
King, I. Education for Social Efficiency. D. Appleton & Company, 

New York, 1915. 



210 Bibliography 

KiRKPATRiCK, M. G. The Rural School from Within. J. B. Lippin- 

cott Company, Philadelphia, 1917. 
Lewis, Howard T. The Rural School and the Community. Richard 

G. Badger, Boston, 1918. 
McFee, Inez N. The Teacher, the School, and the Community, 

American Book Company, New York, 1918. 
Moore, Ernest Carroll. What the War Teaches about EduAiation. 

Macmillan Company, New York, 1919. 
Ogden, H. N. Rural Hygiene. Macmillan Company, New York, 

Pearson, Francis B. The Reconstructed School. World Book 

Company, Yonkers, N. Y., 1919. 
Plunkett, Sir Horace. The Rural Life Problem of the United 

States. Macmillan Company, New York, 1910. 
Report of the Commission on Country Life. Sturgis & Walton Com- 
pany, New York, 1911. 
Sanford, a. H. The Story of Agriculture in the United States. D. C. 

Heath & Company, New York, 1915. 
Sims, N. L. Ultimate Democracy and Its Making. A. C. McClurg 

& Company, Chicago, 1917. 
Smith, S. G. Social Pathology. Macmillan Company, New York, 

Steinmetz, C. p. America and the New Epoch. Harper & Brothers, 

New York, 1916. 
Weeks, Ruth Mary. Socializing the Three R's. Macmillan Com- 
pany, New York, 1919. 
Wilkinson, W. A. Rural School Management. Silver, Burdett & 

Company, Boston, 1917. 
Wilson, W. H. Evolution of the Country Community. The Pilgrim 

Press, Boston, 1912. 
WooFTER, T. J. Teaching in Rural Schools. Houghton Mifflin 

Company, Boston, 1917. 

II. Community Centers 

1. General 

Dewey, John. The School and Society. University of Chicago 

Press, Chicago. 
Galpin, C. J. Rural Social Centers in Wisconsin. University of 
Wisconsin, Bulletin 234. 


Bibliography 211 

King, Irving. Education for Social Efficiency. D. Appleton & 

Company, New York, 1913. 
Perry, Clarence Arthur. Extension of Public Education. United 

States Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1915. 

School as a Factor in Neighborliood Development, Russell Sage 

Foundation, New York, 1914. 
Ward, Edward J. Social Center. D. Appleton & Company, New 

York, 1913. 

2. Recreation 

Bancroft, Jessie H. Games for the Playground, Home, School and 
Gymnasium. Macmillan Company, New York, 1909. 

Brooks, Eugene C. Agricultural and Rural Life Day. United 
States Bureau of Education, Bulletin No. 40, 1913. 

Curtis, Henry S. Play and Recreation in the Open Country. Ginn 
& Company, Boston, 1914. 

Eggleston, Joseph Dupuy. Work of the Rural School. Harper & 
Brothers, New York, 1913. 

Elson, J. C, and Trilling, Blanche M. Social Games and Group 
Dances. J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1919. 

Farwell, Parris Thaxter. Village Improvement. Sturgis & 
Walton Company, New York, 1913. 

Hanmer, Lee F., and Knight, Howard R. Sources of Information 
on Play and Recreation. The Department of Recreation, Russell 
Sage Foundation, New York, 1915. 

Hanmer, Lee F. The Gary Public Schools Report on Physical Train- 
ing and Play. General Education Board, New York, 1918. 

Lee, Joseph. Play in Education. Macmillan Company, New York, 

McKeever, William A. Farm Boys and Girls. Macmillan Com- 
pany, New York, 1912. 

3. Entertainments 

Bates, Esther Willard. Pageants and Pageantry. Ginn & Com- 
pany, New York, 1912. 

Chubb, Percival, and associates. Festivals and Plays in School 
and Elsewhere. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1912. 

Frank, Maude Morrison. Short Plays about Famous Authors, 
Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1915. 

2i2 Bibliography 

Greet, Ben. Guide and Index to Plays, Festivals and Masques. 

Doubleday, Page & Company, New York, 1912. 
Mackey, Constance D'Arcy. Costumes and Scenery for Amateurs 

— A Practical Working Handbook. Henry Holt & Company, 

New York, 1915. 
SCHAUFFLER, ROBERT H. Our American Holidays. Moffat, Yard 

& Company, New York. 
Stern, Renie B. Neighborhood Entertainments. Sturgis & Walton 

Company, New York, 1910. 
Walker, Alice Johnston. Little Plays from American History for 

Young Folks. Henry Holt & Company, New York, 1914. 
Wade, Mary Hazelton. Little Folks* Plays of American Heroes. 

Richard G. Badger, Boston, 1914. 

4. Mime 

Catalogues of Silver, Burdett & Company and C. C. Birchard & 

Company, Boston. 
Beacon Series of Vocal Selections. Silver, Burdett & Company, 

Alexander, Birdie. Songs We Like to Sing. Silver, Burdett & 

Company, Boston, 1912. 
Parker, McConathy, Miessner & Birge. Progressive Music 

Series — One Book Course for Ungraded Schools and Community 

Singing. Silver, Burdett & Company, Boston, 1917. 
Parsons, Gertrude. High School Song Book. Silver, Burdett & 

Company, Boston, 1919. 

5. Clubs 

Bernheimer, Charles Siligman, and Cohen, Jacob M. Boys* ClvJbs. 

The Baker & Taylor Company, New York, 1914. 
BuRRELL, Mrs. Caroline Benedict. Woman's Club Work and 

Programs; or First Aid to Club Woman. The Page Company, 

Boston, 1913. 
Puffer, J. Adams. The Boy and His Gang. Houghton Mifflin 

Company, Boston, 1912. 
Roberts, Joseph T. Primer of Parliamentary Law. Doubleday, 

Page & Company, New York. 


Agricultiiral clubs, 131. 

Agricultiiral fair, 83. 

Alfalfa, suggestions for a program 

entitled, 199-200. 
Amateur theatricals, 152-157. 
Apple, the, suggestions for a program 

entitled, 196-197. 
Arithmetic, 117. 
Athletics and play, 132. 

Bailey, Dr. L. H., 65. 

Better farming, suggestions for a 
program entitled, 192-194. 

Better teaching, 90. 

Bible stories, suggestions for a pro- 
gram entitled, 175—176. 

Boys' and girls' agricultural clubs, 

Bureau of Education, United States, 
4, 77; bulletins of, 135; free 
literature available from, 126 ; 
Home Division of, 125. 

Butterfield, Dr. Kenyon L., 129. 

Capital stock, 88. 

Gary, C. P., 115. 

Child Welfare Magazine, 125. 

Christmas program, 161-162. 

Church, the rural, 23-26. 

Claxton, Dr. P. P., 4, 125. 

Clean-up-and-Beautify Day, 182. 

Collier, John, 54. 

Columbus Day, suggested program 
for celebration of, 148-149. 

Common interests, 45. 

Comm\inity, a definition of, 40. 

Community and National Life, Les- 
sons in, 4. 

Community building, 181. 

Community center idea, the, 40. 

Commimity center, a function of, 
51 ; a meeting place, 49 ; an or- 
ganization, 51 ; initial steps, 142 ; 
ultimate aim of, 141. 

Commimity cooperation, how some 
teachers have secured it, 94. 

Community interests, 42, 44. 

Community history, 83. 

Community leaders, developing of , 35. 

Community survey, 81, 107. 

Contracts of teachers, legal and 
moral, 97. 

Constructive program, developing 
a. 39. 

Country life, suggestions for a pro- 
gram entitled, 184r-185. 
Crothers, Dr. Samuel M., 8. 
Cultural ideal, 60. 
Current events, 61, 119. 

Dairying, suggestions for a program 

entitled, 198-199. 
Davis, Professor B. M., 91. 
Day meetings, advantages of, 115. 
Debate, suggestions for, 149-152. 
Demonstration work, 119. 
Department of Agriculture, United 

States, 19. 

Entertainment for profit, 136-140. 
Evening classes, 84, 135. 
Extra dividends, 88. 

Farm pageant, 157. 

Farmers' clubs, 26, 129-131. 

Farm problems, suggestions for a 

program entitled, 200-201. 
Finley, Dr. John H., 2. 
Fisk, Dr. Eugene Lyman, 59. 
Foght, Harold W., 59. 
Food Administration, 2, 12, 13. 
Food Pledge Card Campaign, 6, 12, 88. 
Foster, Warren Dunham, 49, 51, 

75, 170. 

Galpin, C. J., 40, 41. 
Gates, Dr. Frederick T., 207. 
Good roads, suggestions for a pro- 
gram entitled, 186-189. 
Grange, the, 49, 129-131. 
Gulick, Dr. Luther H., 53. 
Gymnastic drills and games, 119. 

Haberman, Eugene, 54. 
Halloween social, 158-160. 
Harvest Home Day, 160. 
Health program, 194-195. 
Historical pageant, 156-157. 
Hogan, Jr., John, 47, 48. 
Hoosier Schoolmaster, 145. 
Hoover, Herbert, 1, 4. 

Illiteracy, the problem of, 135. 
Improved living conditions, 45. 
Indian, the, suggestions for a pro- 
gram entitled, 173-174. 
Individual interests, 44. 

Judd, Dr. Charles H., 4. 




Kelley, Oliver H., 129. 
King Corn, suggestions for a program 
entitled, 195-196. 

Language, 116. 

Larson, W. E., 69, 106. 

Leadership, agencies for rural, 20 
an example of unconscious, 31 
meaning of, 18; the necessity of 
17 ; present status of rural, 18 
secret of, 30; strategic position 
of school for, 28; teacher may 
assume, 105. 

Lecture course, 85. 

Leisure, the enjoyment of, 57-70. 

Lessons in Community and National 
Life, 4, 5. 

Liberty Bond drives, 6, 88. 

Lincoln's Birthday, suggestions for 
a program celebrating, 179-180. 

Local history, suggestions for a pro- 
gram entitled, 174-175. 

Marshall, Dean Leon C, 4. 

Moore, Miss Agnes, 55. 

Mother's Day, suggestions for a 

program celebrating, 189-192. 
Motion pictures, 169-173. 
Music program, 162-165. 

National Congress of Mothers, 124. 
National Education Association, 3. 
National patriotism, 86. 
New Creek school, 36-39. 

Old Home Week Celebration, 157. 
Organization, 51-53, 105. 

Parent-teacher associations, 124-129. 

Personal interests, 61-6-4. 

Play and athletics, 132. 

Plunkett, Sir Horace, 19. 

Potato race, 133. 

Poultry, suggestions for a program 
entitled, 197-198. 

Presbyterian Board, 23. 

Programs, current events a promi- 
nent feature of, 143; day, 115; 
for entertainment, 141-180; for 
special occasions, 120; participa- 
tion in by parents. 122; special 
school, 115-123; suited to com- 
munity, 141 ; variation of, 142. 

Recreation, 71-77. 
Red Cross drives, 6, 88. 

Roads, good, program for, 186-189 ; 

lessons in building, 187. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 20. 
Ruediger, Dr. W. C. 57. 
Rural church, the, 23-27. 
Rural home, the, 20-21. 
Rural leadership, agencies for, 20; 

present status of, 18. 
Rural school, the, as agency of 

leadership, 28; lack of incentives 

in, 98 ; strate^c position of, 28. 
Rural surveys, in Illinois, 72; in 

Missouri, 73. 

School attendance, 84, 96, 97. 

School athletics, 87. 

School community, the, 41. 

School exhibit, 83. 

School extension work, 27. 

School libraries, 86. 

Selected programs, 201-206. 

Smith-Lever Act, 74. 

Social capital, 78. 

Special occasions, programs for, 

Spelling bee, 144-146. 
State leadership, 19. 
Stories of great men, a program, 166. 

Teacher, the, as leader, 29; the 

strategic position of, 32. 
Three-legged race, 133. 
Travel program, 167-169. 
Tug of war, 134. 
Tustin, Lloyd T., 80. 

Virginia, school improvement leagues 

of, 12. 
Visiting days, 121. 
Vocational ideal, 60. 

Wagner, Dr. Charles A., 128. 

Ward, Edward J., 48. 

Washington's Birthday, suggestions 

for a program celebrating, 177-179. 
Wilson, Miss Margaret Woodrow, 

2, 106. 
WUson, Dr. Warren H., 23, 72. 
Wilson, Woodrow, letter from, 3; 

active support of, 50. 
Wisconsin plan, the, 115. 
Written work, exhibits of, 119. 

Ye Old Time School Days. 147-148. 

Zueblin, Professor Charles, 8. 



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